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

The Earth That Holds Us

He used the rake as if a gondolier, pushing the long wooden pole out into the briny water until he drew its flat blade backwards, pulling white crystals free of the shallow pond. The salt pan glimmered and shone in the fierce September heat of Andalucía, its crusted white surface blindingly bright. Flamingos cut a … Continue reading The Earth That Holds Us

An Uncertain Country

To listen to an audio version of 'An Uncertain Country' click the play button To near the coast in April is to stray into uncertain country. At times a hot sun bathes the orange groves until they glow. Then the lashing rains return, hurled by the wind across the hills like ragged grey sheets. Mist … Continue reading An Uncertain Country