The Places That Shape Us

For an audio version of 'The Places That Shape Us' please click the play button Certain places follow us, like shadows. At times they lengthen and stretch implausibly tall until they tower above our lives, or slant decisively away as if trying to flee. Occasionally they appear not to be there at all - so … Continue reading The Places That Shape Us

Being in Mysteries

For an audio version of 'Being in Mysteries' click the play button The petals are like stiff velvet against my fingers, and the entrancing colour of blood. There is something otherworldly about this parasitic species; they don’t seem to belong to the surrounding community of plants. They’re amongst the rarest flowers in Europe and yet … Continue reading Being in Mysteries

Faith in a Forgotten Place

"Where there are borders, there are bridges." I'd been researching a cross-border eco-tourism project on the Albanian side of the lake when Myrsini Malakou, director of the Society for the Protection of Prespa, suddenly said this during an interview. Her words crystalized for me a vague idea that I'd been carrying around throughout the time I'd spent in … Continue reading Faith in a Forgotten Place

The Circumference of a Second

To listen to an audio version of 'The Circumference of a Second' please press the play button. for Dimitris Noulis Sometimes just a few words can transport us. A friend had emailed me the first line of a 17th century poem by Henry Vaughan, and I found myself reading it over and over: I saw … Continue reading The Circumference of a Second

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