Day 17 – Why did Victorian glass domes of stuffed birds make people happy?

behind the scenes

dusty corridors lead to musky back rooms

where cold vats of animal carcasses wait for a steady hand.

2 partridges, a blue jay, a cedar waxwing and a hummingbird

positioned amongst a tangle of blossoms,

wings ever spread, bodies ever ridge,

gathering around a nest,

the wild and exotic brought in close, perching in a domestic setting.

Species preserved through behaviours which made them extinct.

such a colourful display; the fashion for an object of art;

stuffed birds for our delight, for our ever expanding egos.

Day 11 – NaPoWriMo- Mount Cherry

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And here, we begin our ascent.
Please be careful of your footing.
There are loose chippings.
Look up. See how the sun graces
her face. Depending on the time
of the day or time of the month,
she may greet you with her broadest
smile, inviting. Other times, shadowed
and closed. You have been warned.

As we advance, observe the lumpy,
bumpy terrain, discoloured in places
with distinct dark spots. She was born
with these. And here, stop, examine
the outcrop revealing her core. Layer
upon layer of flesh: emotions
and intuition and wisdom. Years
of neglect has made this particular part
almost impassable. Look away if you have to.

And here, finally, we reach her peak.
Or should we say, peaks. Sagging
too far into the clouds. Inexcusable.
But, we are blessed to witness her
during the fleeting blossom season.
Enjoy the cherry clusters lining the path.
Careful as slippery when wet. And we
wouldn’t want you to loose your chance
to prod and poke and objectify this
rare and formidable mountain.

#WeHikeToHeal

Today I wake to an email from Kenya and Michelle @Outdoor Journal Tour (ODJT) and the phenomenal work they’re doing in getting black women outdoors. They inspire me to do more especially when they share the reasons why black women need to experience the healing qualities of nature.

What makes me sad and angry is that they, we, don’t get enough support in this endeavour. Some people choose to troll them, us, derail us instead of recognise what we are doing and our struggle. Some people choose to not see inequalities and injustices in our society because it simply doesn’t effect them.

From a recent post on Instagram, ODJT shared their experience of being trolled but also the outpouring of love and support they are receiving for their work. Being able to see this support and understanding and love is fuel to continue what we are doing. Some people will never understand, listen or accept the way society does divide us along so many lines including race, gender, sexuality, religion etc. But we have to still have hope that change is here and there is more to come. We cannot give up hope.

Broken Wing

Walking back from the woods, I find you, a couple of spruce pine cones, squashed, into shapes that reminds me of a broken wing; feathers bent back at an awkward angle, tawny like an eagle or an owl.

My breath catches at the thought of death and destruction, of an imaginary bird, landlocked without the aid of one wing.

My heart somersaults at such a striking thought that’s followed quickly upon by feelings of blame lying at our feet.

Listen

I forgot to share my recent creation featured on Nine Muses Poetry website because I was getting lost in the wilderness with the Black Women’s Leadership Program with the Earth Sea Love nature project. But now I’m back and got my head turned around and ready to share. Check it out below. Thanks.

One Poem by Sheree Mack
OCTOBER 20, 2019 ~ ANNEST GWILYM
Written in response to this month’s Special Challenge.

Listen

… to the geese gathering
honking at all hours, they have arrived
to wait out the winter on these shores

Listen

… as they take to the clear sky
together, in formation, whining, squeaking,
as their wide wings caress the cool air

Continued on website here

Flaneuse roundup and other things

The month draws to an end. And so does my challenge of walking out every day, taking photographs and reflecting on the practice. I didn’t manage it every day as mid-way through sickness hit our household. But I do think I completed more walks than if I wasn’t trying to complete the challenge.

Today was a glorious window of light, that I’d be a fool to miss out on. So it was a quick dip in the bay and it was bitterly cold. And then a brisk walk along the shore to warm up. It was a great way to start my day and help with productivity for the rest of it.

As promised to my Patreon sponsors, I delivered my first essay from the forthcoming mixed genre memoir. I’ve made a commitment to share one essay and reading list that I used to complete the essay at the end of each month for the rest of the year. Yes only four months but still that’s four essays done than not.

The theme was climate justice this month and I enjoyed writing it once I got into it. This essay’s been brewing since I first came across the work of Wretched of the Earth. So the time and space and audience to finally complete the beginnings of an essay around this. This is just a draft but at least I now have something to work with moving forward. Making this commitment made me accountable. For which I am thankful.

You can jump on Patreon for as little as $1 to read it if you want. And as always, I appreciate feedback, comments and arguments.

Here comes October, my birthday month. Yay!

Flaneuse – 9/30

This was a great walk along a 6 mile stretch of Hadrian’s Wall to finally seeing in real life the iconic Sycamore Tree. Tree of the Year, 2016 and the most photographed spot in the whole of Northumberland National Park, I’ve had this site on my bucket list all summer. So to finally be able to spend time with this majestic tree growing from within a gap in the Roman wall was a moment indeed.

Whin Sill the bedrock beneath the wall, in this area, has been naturally worn away by large amounts of meltwater flowing beneath the ice sheets to create channels, or gaps. Other gaps can be found at Rapishaw Gap and Milking Gap.
This tree has become famous not for its geology but for appearing on the big screen and TV, starting along side Kevin Costner in Robin Hood Prince of Thieves, Brenda Blethyn in the TV series Vera and Robson Green in More Tales from Northumberland.