It's hard to live far away from your family during the pandemic and the distance feels immense when you need to process a loss or grief. So, I keep walking, despite the fickle weather. I keep writing, despite the stale words. And I look for wildflowers and listen to whispering trees.
Poetry helps us come to terms with grief, and comfort is often found in unexpected places.
Lefras' passion for plants and gardening is infectious. We talk about the Amaryllis in his high school boarding room, gardening on a budget, and what he would do if he won the national lottery...
March was a great time to start identifying Ireland’s plant species. We spent more time outdoors as the days became warmer. It was incredible to see the first spring leaves shimmering on trees and shrubs and the forsythia and magnolias blooming in suburban gardens re-energised my lockdown spirit. Even though I was excited about this new adventure, it felt a little daunting and I was uncertain where to start.
I finished listening to the seventh and final Harry Potter audiobook today, written by J.K. Rowling and narrated by Stephen Fry. I hadn’t planned to listen to all seven audiobooks over the past months, but sometimes it's comforting to return to a book or series you love during uncertain or stressful times.
What would you ask an ancient tree?
I’m always stopping on walks to examine flowers, shrubs, and trees but I'm not familiar with many of the plant and bird species in Ireland and I find this weirdly unsettling. This is where ‘Wild Flowers of Ireland and Britain’ come in - I’m hoping to learn more about Ireland by identifying as many plants, trees, and grasses as I can this year. I’d love for you to join me on this adventure!
As a child, did you imagine you would be the person you have become? Do you believe memories, especially childhood memories, are like a collection of “polished tiles” that would “someday be the marvellously finished pavilion of the self?” How much of what we remember is true and when does memory give way to fantasy? John Banville explores the unstable qualities of memory and grief in The Sea , a novel awarded the Man Booker Prize in 2005. When we look back at our memories we are confronted with uncertainty, blurred details, figments of imagination, unreliable emotions and doubtful truths about the very events that shape us as adults.
I locked myself (and my daughter) out of the house two weeks ago. Dark rain clouds were looming overhead. I panicked. My toddler was hungry and tired, I had no snacks, and to tell you the truth, I was hungry and tired too! But after a few phone calls, we had no choice but to … Continue reading Things you find under trees – poem
Humans strive for perfection and optimisation. Better skin, better bodies. More efficient cars, more efficient farming. But how far is too far... When dangerous crossbreeds escape labs? When chicken meat is grown without chickens? This is just the tip of the iceberg when Atwood explores these uncomfortable questions in Oryx & Crake .