Ghost Forest

Carol aka 奇芍

I’d just finished reading Finding the Mother Tree by Suzanne Simard when I saw this photograph on Flickr.  The book is about the author growing up in the forests of British Colombia, Canada.  Later, whilst working in the forest service in the 1980s she discovered that trees communicate below ground through networks of fungi, and she writes about the struggle she had to convince others of her findings.  Nowadays, most people in conservation know about the enormous impact that mycorrhizas have on a plants ability to exist; Simard’s work was ground-breaking.  It is an amazing and brilliant book, written by an amazing and brilliant woman.

The picture was taken by Carol aka 奇芍 on 23rd July 2021 and published on Flickr in her Sunday Art series of photographs and she has generously allowed me to reproduce it here.  The following summary of Maya Lin’s work is also by Carol:

“Maya Lin’s Ghost Forest, a towering stand of forty-nine haunting Atlantic white cedar trees, is a newly-commissioned public art work. Lin brings her vision as an artist and her agency as an environmental activist to this project, a memory of germination, vegetation, and abundance and a harsh symbol of the devastation of climate change. The height of each tree, around forty feet, overwhelms human scale and stands as a metaphor of the outsized impact of a looming environmental calamity.

 In nature, a ghost forest is the evidence of a dead woodland that was once vibrant. Atlantic white cedar populations on the East Coast are endangered by past logging practices and threats from climate change, including extreme weather events that yield salt water intrusion, wind events, and fire. The trees in Ghost Forest were all slated to be cleared as part of regeneration efforts in the fragile ecosystem of the Pine Barrens of New Jersey.

The magnitude of planetary vulnerability is a significant subject in Lin’s practice through sculpture, installation, and her web-based resource, What Is Missing?. Now two generations removed from the Earthwork artists of the 1960s and 1970s, Lin is taking on rural and urban outdoor space with a focus on geology and the fragility of the earth’s ecosystem.”

 In November this year the UK Government, along with Italy, is hosting the United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland.  It would be a poignant reminder for all the world’s leaders if Maya Lin’s work was on show in Glasgow, at the entrance, so that everyone attending had to approach through the Ghost Forest!  Perhaps then the world’s leaders might appreciate what is happening to the planet.

Ashley

https://forestry.ubc.ca/faculty-profile/suzanne-simard/

https://www.mayalinstudio.com/

https://ukcop26.org/

Summer’s End

groomsport 1

This is the little harbour of Groomsport on the southern shore of Belfast Lough. My photograph was taken looking northeast across the North Channel towards Galloway in Scotland.

As a child I remember wonderful summer holidays in Groomsport watching the boats in the harbour.  There is a sandy beach on the other side of the harbour wall on the right of this picture.  From this recent visit, the idea for my verse took root.

Excited children,
Splashing on the seashore;
Holidays almost over!

 

groomsport 2

groomsport 3

On another day, at a different place and another time:

Seabird families,
Circling off the cliffs;
Summer's end!

Soon it will be the start of a new month and with it a change in the Earth’s cycle of celebration: Lammas / Lughnasadh.  I will open a new chapter in my seasonal journal as I look towards the Autumn equinox in September, and the end of the Celtic year in October.

Wishing you well.

Ashley

Mount Stewart


With our picnic packed and the weather forecast promising a warm sunny day, we travelled to Mount Stewart in County Down, on the Ards Penninsula. It’s a place we love, and we will no doubt return again, and again!

Part of the reason to visit these gardens was to once again be surrounded by trees, something I have missed very much since the Coronavirus circulated the Earth. I feel that I am incomplete if I can’t have trees and their company in my life. So today I’m posting about a walk around a garden full of trees.

Looking over my shoulder at the entrance
The main path
The lake
The old rose garden
The old orchard
Jungle
North garden
East garden

Here is the website: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/mount-stewart

After our visit we travelled a few minutes along the road to a small car park where there were some picnic benches and that’s where we remained until it was time to drive home.

 

https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/National+Trust+-+Mount+Stewart+House,+Garden+and+Temple+of+the+Winds/@54.5516191,-5.6041077,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x486171448181d2cf:0x4d8421bd9e57db4b!8m2!3d54.551616!4d-5.601919

Early Summer

Thrift

Goodness! Is it really over a month since I last wrote here?

Today the sun is shining! It is a wonderful day; the sun is hot, there is a fresh breeze and I have put the garden parasol up to keep us from burning!

As we returned from our short morning walk, I took a photograph (above) of the new front border. These flowers remind me of the coast, which we have not visited in months! The pandemic has kept us close to home, but now that restrictions have eased we must travel to the coast again. I promise to take some photos.

All morning I have tried to complete a summer verse and have arrived at the following lines:

(early summer)

Thrift —

Rose-pink clusters,

A reminder of the coast.

These flowers are common on the coast and already I’m planning a walk. Can’t wait!

See you again soon!

Ashley

Linked verses at the equinox

to wp

What a glorious morning to celebrate the Spring Equinox when night and day are of equal length.  A time when light and dark, inner and outer are in balance.  And in such a fertile time, I managed to finish my first attempt at writing a set of linked verses, which I publish below.

 

(spring)

Standing still,
A Song Thrush listens -
Silence.

Silence -
The sun begins to rise,
A Blackbird sings.

A Blackbird sings,
From dawn to dusk -
The spring equinox.

Earth Matters

Just over 200 years ago the earth’s human population was 1 billion.  I believe the latest data shows that today there are just under 8 billion people on our planet.  It is estimated that in another 30 years time, how a short a time is that, in 2050, the population will have risen to nearly 10 billion. That is no time at all in the earth’s long history.

This was on my mind this morning as I watched the clouds grow dark and heavy from the kitchen window.  Snow was forecast and sure enough it arrived with the wind.  It was 08.15 AM.

20210213_081436

20210213_091401

20210213_103024

20210213_152213

By early afternoon, in the space of a few hours when it seemed that we might have a blizzard, the snow had disappeared.  How quickly the weather and the earth can change!  I hope you are able to watch this video.

Late Winter

20210124_105744

In some ways it’s difficult to believe that we are nearing the end of winter! In my photograph I am facing south, and it’s 11.00 in the morning! Yes, that’s the sun trying to break through the cloud!

No wind.
Walking on snow is fun;
Crump, crump, crump.

The midday sun
Peers through grey cloud.

20210124_105051

It is so still, nothing moves, as if the Earth is holding her breath.

Ashley