The Stone Coast

For centuries men cloistered here, monastic, remote, alone. Men who’d shed some of the world as a way of contemplating its essence, stricter in their spiritual devotion to it. At the edge of this high mountain lake, they lived lives pared down to clear symmetry, in the way a piece of bone is carved slowly … Continue reading The Stone Coast

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

A Family Affair: Szczecin, pt.1

To listen to an audio version of 'A Family Affair' click the play button "All origins become mysterious if we search far enough into the past. And almost all peoples, when we look at their earliest origins, turn out to have come from somewhere else." -Noel Malcolm, Kosovo: A Short History A fierce north wind … Continue reading A Family Affair: Szczecin, pt.1

A Sort of Homecoming

And you know it's time to go Through the sleet and driving snow Across the fields of mourning Lights in the distance And you hunger for the time Time to heal, desire time - U2, 'A Sort of Homecoming' Whenever I monitor birds on the lower hills I pass what is left of the village. I stay … Continue reading A Sort of Homecoming

The Karst Country

Some of you reading Notes from Near and Far may remember that Julia and I have been working in the hills high above the Prespa Lakes monitoring birds as part of an environmental assessment for a proposed wind farm. It is there that I had the good fortune to meet Stavros, an Albanian shepherd who plays the flute … Continue reading The Karst Country