Green, verdant, mysterious wood

And yet, it’s deep winter here in the Glen Kens. But it’s really quite mild, as the days pass by with temperatures in the upper single figures. My thoughts have tended toward the poetic, these days, as we amble through the ageing woodland.

I would like to believe that the poetic form is not only a domain inhabited by the young and passionate, but that the old and passionate too might have a voice that’s worth listening to. Well, I have to believe that, don’t I, else what is the point, at my age, of trying to write poems?

After all, the poems that Clive James wrote, that populated the last decade of his life after his terminal diagnosis, and especially his rather premature valedictory poem, Japanese Maple, are intense, moving pieces of reflection. I’m moved as well by the title of his last book, The Fire of Joy, in which he collated the poetry that had been his companion throughout his life. Being Clive, of course, he had to offer a set of companion reflections in his inimitable essay format.

Some of these sorts of ruminations filled our minds during our woodland walk, but mostly we just traipsed along revelling in the mysterious ambience of the dark mossy spaces. They do say that a simple walk in the woods is worth many hours of diligent exercise on a treadmill inside. Perhaps that’s because of the benefits to mental health that can be found within the embrace of ancient trees.

I’m easy with that feeling, but I’m also a practical sort of guy — yesterday afternoon I spent hoying an endless dump of firewood over the fence into a big pile next to the woodshed. Guess what my job this morning is?! Of course, it’s an exercise of judicious stacking. And then this evening we’ll revel in a warm living room as I ease my tired joints into a slouch and rest from my labours.

These are certainly a panoply of joys, emanating like an overflowing cornucopia, from the intense carbon store that is deciduous wood!

3 responses to “Green, verdant, mysterious wood”

  1. Hi Larry. Just a comment about the weather. The past 2 days, it has been +8 and sunny. After an incredibly dreary, cloudy month and a half, the sun is welcome. Today is cloudy with a forecast of +14. This is mid-February, in Canada! About a week ago we were in the minus double digits. As the mother of a young farmer who is determined to make this his career, these drastic changes in temperature – winter and summer – concern me.


    1. Yes, I agree Arlene . . . it’s very worrisome indeed. I want to hope that we haven’t moved into inexorable territory, that the planet isn’t falling off a cliff, but the only solution I’ve been able to come up with that helps me to hope is what James Lovelock suggested in Novacene, that the new and supreme Artificial Intelligence will, dramatically, take charge of planetary affairs and stop human exploitation in our tracks. That feels a forlorn and wishful hope, but the Gaian capacity for renewal is awesome, if the exploitation can be stopped. I guess that also inculpates us cheerfully burning wood to stay warm. I’m sure we could do more to minimise our own personal impact, but we’re probably as selfish as anyone else. Meanwhile, it’s almost as if we humans live, relative to climate change, as the Damien Hirst pickled shark had it, within the compartmentalised bubble of ‘The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living’ . . . so, recognising these constraints, I try to find the joy where I can, and carry on. Keep on worrying, though, eh?! Take care, Larry


  2. Larry, I wasted my money on the Farmer’s Almanac this year, We have not had colder than normal temps & the predicted above normal snowfall is a total bust.. We’ve had a grand total of about a 1/2 inch. The famous Groundhogs are totally off too. 6 more weeks of winter? Not a chance. We reached 68° F (20 Celcius) today with no cold temps in foreseeable future. Mother Nature is messing with flora & fauna. Future shock is here but it’s not what I expected.


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