Ancient woodlands are more vital than ever

If “a culture is no better than its woods”, then WH Auden would be rightly disappointed by large parts of the world if he were still with us.  There’d be Romania, one amongst many countries miserably failing to preserve its woodlands, where a violent logging mafia clear-cuts vast and spectacular beech forests irrespective of EU … Continue reading Ancient woodlands are more vital than ever

A World Within Water

"If there is magic on this planet, it is contained within water." ~ Loren Eiseley, 'The Flow of the River' Strong and muscular, Otny Thomas stood like a figurehead at the prow of the boat. He had an angel tattooed on his back, and a large centipede inked in a coiled and wavy line around … Continue reading A World Within Water

The Spiral Windings

For World Oceans Day on the weekend, Terrain.org published an essay of mine about a living fossil - the chambered nautilus. Having remained largely unchanged in evolutionary terms for some 500 million years, the nautilus conceals at the heart of its existence an extraordinary and radiant geometry that enables it to inhabit the ocean deeps. … Continue reading The Spiral Windings

Salt of Life

Where Spain shelves into the sea at the most southerly tip of continental Europe only fourteen kilometres of water separate it from North Africa. Through the late summer haze you can see the buckled beginnings of Morocco’s Rif Mountains, towering over the glittering blue span of the Strait of Gibraltar. And with that landmass in … Continue reading Salt of Life

The Moon is the Heart

Francisco Armenteros stood beside a framed map of the Bay of Cádiz. “I remember something that my father once said: It was amazing when you came along the road and you could see so many little mountains of salt, like pyramids of salt.” Dating from the mid-1900s, the map reveals the complex saltscape of the … Continue reading The Moon is the Heart