Sand, Starlings and Other Small Things

The two Prespa Lakes are split by a flat isthmus, a spur of sand which pelicans glide across in summer as they swap one body of water for the other. Those two lakes, though, were once one, a single blue bowl encircled by steep slopes. Over thousands of years, silt and sediment from the mountains … Continue reading Sand, Starlings and Other Small Things

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

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