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

Journey to Ithaca

After last week's deluge the river ran wild with rain. It had transformed overnight from a sinuous set of bends where kingfishers flared like blue flames to a wild and churning tempest. The mud-brown water was washing off the mountains and cascading through steep granite galleries to roil across the plain towards the lake. The thrum and roar were recognisable, storms having altered the shape … Continue reading Journey to Ithaca

Chasing Colours

In 1972 the writer, Annie Dillard, began assembling hundreds of index cards, where she'd jotted down thoughts and quotations from a range of readings, meticulous observations of the seasons, notes on the natural processes that she'd witnessed near her home in the mountains of Virginia, and crafted them into a whole. The resulting book, Pilgrim at Tinker … Continue reading Chasing Colours

The Impressions of Place

  It's hard to define place with any precision; each of us comes at it from a different angle. It can be suggestive of anything from a home or neighbourhood to an exotic and distant land. For some it might be wilderness, for others civilisation. It could equally be a meeting ground of the two. In fact, it's hard … Continue reading The Impressions of Place