Ash Tree Reflections

In an upside down world
I stare at my reflection
and tell you
I know about disease.
I know about shortage and want.
I know what it is like to dread the chainsaw’s roar
and wonder if it is coming for me.
I know what it is like
to no longer hear my friends
whispering on the wind.
In this upside down world
if you can’t hug your mother, sister, friend, brother, father, child, grandchild
put your arms around me
and listen while I tell you
we are all in this together.

© Ali Walters April 2020

With thanks to Roselle Angwin for her Tongues In Trees course, her enthusiasm, support and for including this poem in her latest blog

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Queen of the Heath

She is no straight, tall elegant beauty
No.
She writhes and rears
out of earth.
A wild unbroken silver mare
bucking
in the evening sun.

Dappled with moss and lichen
eight limbs of
hoary
thick bark,
rough to the touch,
twisting, turning
over each other.

Sinking down
then raising up
young smooth skinned limbs
tipped with unkempt
skeins of delicate twigs,
catkin beaded
dancing in the breeze.

Mother to all around
who stand witness
to her joyous,
unfettered
holding
of this place
of meeting,
memory and wonder.

She says simply
“Be extraordinary”

© Ali Walters January 2020

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Today I Am Angry

“How stricken would our luscious landscape be without the lovely Ash” Ali Walters March 2019

Today I am angry
Today I can’t understand why
We aren’t shouting from the roof tops,
That with dieback and the borer beetle
WE could lose nearly 1 billion Ash trees
Where is the Cobra planning meeting for that?
Where are the emergency tree planting proposals?
Why are the politicians sitting around arguing
about borders and immigration instead of
this national catastrophe?
Have we become so thoughtless so disconnected
From our environment that we would
Not notice if millions of trees disappeared?
John Constable mourned the loss of one “young lady”
What would he have to say to us about our carelessness with a whole species?
If they were humans we would cry genocide
There would be benefit concerts and distressing pictures all over the news
But we seem not to give a damn about trees or the 1000s of insects, birds, fungus, mammals
(including us) that depend on them.
How stricken would our luscious landscape be without the lovely Ash.
Will they live on only in place name memory?
To be read out like the names of
war casualties on Ash Tree Remembrance Day
Ash, Ashampstead, Ashbocking, Ashbourne, Ashburton, Ashbury, Ashby, Ashcombe, Ashdon, Ashdown, Ashen, Ashendon, Ashill, Ashington, Ashley, Ashamsworth, Ashmore, Ashow, Ashreigny, Ashtead, Ashton, Ashurst, Ashurstwood, Ashwater, Ashwell, Ashwick, Ashwicken, Askam, Askern, Askham, Askrigg, Bracon Ash, Five Ash Down Monyash, Saltash
Ash, Ashampstead, Ashbocking, Ashbourne, Ashburton, Ashbury, Ashb, Ashcombe, Ashdon, Ashdown, Ashen, Ashendon, Ashill, Ashington, Ashley, Ashamsworth, Ashmore, Ashow, Ashreigny, Ashtead, Ashton, Ashurst, Ashurstwood, Ashwater, Ashwell, Ashwick, Ashwicken, Askam, Askern, Askham, Askrigg, Bracon Ash, Five Ash Down Monyash, Saltash
Ash, Ashampstead, Ashbocking, Ashbourne, Ashburton, Ashbury, Ashb, Ashcombe, Ashdon, Ashdown, Ashen, Ashendon, Ashill, Ashington, Ashley, Ashamsworth, Ashmore, Ashow, Ashreigny, Ashtead, Ashton, Ashurst, Ashurstwood, Ashwater, Ashwell, Ashwick, Ashwicken, Askam, Askern, Askham, Askrigg, Bracon Ash, Five Ash Down Monyash, Saltash
Ash
Ash
Ash
Ash

© Ali Walters March 2019

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River Ouse Sensescape at Low Tide

The feel of the cool breeze on the palm of my outstretched hand
The warm sun on my up turned face
The roughness of dried seaweed between my fingers
The sound of rippling wavelets as the wind pushes the river against the out going tide
The raucous squabbling of seagulls
The chirping of a cricket in the grass
The salty smell of sea river water mixed with sweet lavender I’ve carried on my walk
The savoury taste of a handful of almonds found at the bottom of my bag and for dessert a few blackberries picked from a bush accessible only at low tide
The blue of the sky, the green of the hills, the brown of a recently ploughed field and the iridescent shimmer of a red dragonfly’s wings.
What a beautiful day a veritable feast for the senses.
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Prayer for Peace

P1030921May fingers poised on triggers pause.
May hands push back pins and safety catches.
May eyes and ears focussing on targets turn instead,
to the cries of hungry frightened children.
In a heartbeat may all weapons be laid down
and arms raise flags of truce.
May pens sign fair treaties.
May market stalls replace the barricades
and may baskets and bellies be full.
May neighbours greet with smiles.
May communities embrace and join
together to rebuild shattered lives.
May dancing and singing replace weeping.
May there be peace.
© Ali Walters November 11 2014

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30 Days Wild Day 6 Or Sometimes Nature Just Comes to You

While sitting at my computer this afternoon I noticed a movement out of the corner of my eye and there sitting behind my bird bath was a fledgling blackbird, which the male had just fed.P1040059.JPG It was a wild and stormy day so I was slightly concerned about it (as one is as an interfering human!) but I watched avidly for the next 40 minutes or so and eventually the male came back with a beak full of tasty treats – well for a blackbird chick that is.P1040058.JPG

Off he went again and I double checked the RSPB website for info about fledgling chicks. Of course we should in the majority of cases do nothing. So I just sat and watched. A bit later on I was delighted to see the chick hopping about and calling to its parent so I figured it was ok. I have to confess to putting out some stale bread crumbs which I then watched being collected and fed diligently by the male to the chick.

The crumbs also attracted the female who was quite aggressive towards the male. But I guess I might be if I’d been sitting on eggs and then feeding chicks and was now getting ready to have another clutch of eggs!

Even with all this going on the male still managed to find a moment to sit in the hedge and sing out to defend his territory before going back to feeding the chick.

It was a great way to spend day 6 of #30DaysWild with thanks also to the brilliant RSPB website for the information on Blackbird nesting behaviour

 

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World Environment Day 2017

A brief ditty on why brambles matter for #30DaysWild (day 5) and World Environment Day.20170604192002

If all around is doom & gloom let a bramble blossom & bloom. A single skipper may then alight to ease the heart & bring delight.

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1 Day to 30 Days Wild

A glorious end to May started with a fabulous sunrise. 20170601202624

Not being the earliest of risers sometimes it does pay to peek out of the curtains on waking at 4.30am even if your going back to sleep!

Down  on the beach at Rottingdean the scene could almost have been described as Mediterranean.20170601202644

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So time to whip off shoes and socks and dip the toes for the first time this year in the sea. And very pleasant it was too. A great preparation for #30DaysWild 20170601202647

 

 

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30 Days Wild

I’ve just signed up for 30 Days Wild 2017… Watch this space…

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Day 26 – Wildlife Spotting on the Move

Birds spotted while driving on the motorways between Derbyshire and Brighton

Ok I probably should have been concentrating 100% on the roads but I couldn’t help noticing:
Numerous buzzards
A sparrowhawk?
Kestrels
Crows
Several jays
Pigeons
A heron
A red kite (near the M25 junction with the M40)
 An egret
A tern (presumably common – near the reservoirs by Heathrow)
Jackdaws
Pied wagtail (at Cobham services – also at Watford Gap services a couple of days ago)

Birds are brilliant and get everywhere – making motorway driving much more interesting

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