Not a great picture, but the best I could do at the time. We have hit that time of year. The children are back at school, the rowans are red – though the birds don’t seem too bothered just yet – and there are geese overhead in the twilit sky. These are not the migratory pink-footed geese which come in from the north in astonishing numbers in September. These are greylags which have been here all year round, but which are gathering together and finding more suitable roosts for the coming harder weather.
It is not quite autumn, although the first bronzing is showing on trees most exposed to temperature change. We have had plums, but no apples yet. The brambles are ripe, but hips and haws are barely tinged with colour, and the elderberries hard green pips. Tomatoes are ripening fast in the greenhouse, and though the winter barley has been harvested (and one field ploughed already) the spring wheat will stand a week or two yet – much to the joy of the sparrows and finches. There are plenty of swallows and housemartins, but every telegraph wire has its long line of birds sitting, thinking about it, getting ready to move on.
I’ve been in Edinburgh a lot at the festivals, including the magnificent Grit at the Playhouse, and helping to launch Signal, the book of responses to Ciara Phillips Every Woman a Signal Tower project.
And I’m winding up the festival season at Callander, at the Poetry Weekend. It’s going to be the usual mix of poetry, book launches (including four from red Squirrel Press), book sales, performance, discussion and socialising, and this year includes a walk along the Poetry Path at Corbenic and The Write Angle’s
on the Saturday evening, which sounds intriguing.
But I’ve been using the summer pause to revisit some old projects and re-evaluate where I’m going next. I’ve done a lot of new things so far this year – poems for five anthologies, judging a competition, editing and translating, and more readings and reviews than ever, and I’ve loved it. I’ve been at my desk more and in the garden and walking the territory less, which I’m less happy about, and some things seem to have been lost in the shuffle – regular themed posts here, for one. The grounded poetics strand is one I’ll be revisiting over the next month, as well as herb poems and some thoughts about weathering changes in both personal social and environmental life. There’s a thing called ( full of mythology and politics and ecology) The Wren in the Ash Tree which is going to make its debut at Callander, and which is going to take me some time ——
Stick around, it’s going to get interesting!