…rhizomes of the mind

32.rhizome [rahy-zohm] noun • botanyA rootlike subterranean stem, growing horizontally along or under the ground and producing roots and leaves — Such as bamboo, water lilies, lotus, ginger, turmeric. — Turmeric is a member of the ginger family and both have medicinal qualities, turmeric soothing inflammation and anxiety, ginger a balm for the stomach. WhenContinue reading “…rhizomes of the mind”

…the dive

31.— Your father taught you to dive at an early age, first sitting you at the edge of the pool, arms pointing like a giant beak, encouraging you to tip gently into the water. You don’t remember the transition from sitting to standing but at some point, when the fear had gone, you would haveContinue reading “…the dive”

…the green of swimming

30.You slip into the water from the smooth slate shore, the slanted rock sometimes sharp sometimes smooth beneath your palms as you edge your way deeper. You are in a small cove, the opening white with surf but here the water is glass still and cold enough to make you gasp once, twice, three times,Continue reading “…the green of swimming”

…a field guide to birds in other forms

29. Common Symbolic Communis SymbolicThis mercurial bird can take many forms and flourishes across the world, with peace appearing as a dove, death as a raven, love as a swan, and power as a falcon. This is by no means an exhaustive list, with representations as wide and meaningful as the human imagination allows. ItsContinue reading “…a field guide to birds in other forms”

…soul in the sky

28. I have found the headless bodies of rabbits and blue jays, and known it was the great horned owl that did them in, taking the heads only, for the owl has an insatiable craving for the taste of brains.Mary Oliver The Owl When you are ten or twelve, you go birdwatching in the early-dawnContinue reading “…soul in the sky”

…the surgeon and the patient

27.You read Richard Selzer’s essay, The Knife, where he describes his experiences in the operating theatre, proposing that ‘if the surgeon is like a poet, then the scars [he has] made on countless bodies are like verses into the fashioning of which [he has] poured [his] soul.’ You have variously equated your writing with theContinue reading “…the surgeon and the patient”

…the shifting plates

24.The earth is a volatile, shifting being, its wonders both hidden and exposed. Magma bubbles and flows thirty kilometers below its exterior, forever searching for cracks and weaknesses, places to squeeze through to the surface, to make itself known. To be seen. You’ve held secrets that have behaved in much the same way, squirming inContinue reading “…the shifting plates”

…soon you will write

23.Books on your coffee table: — The Philosophy of the Bed, by Mary Eden & Richard CarringtonYou found this book in a strange kind of thrift shop, a greenhouse beside a garden cafe, its glassy walls housing furniture and crockery, paintings and books. The book has a tattered dust jacket bearing a reproduction of GrandeContinue reading “…soon you will write”

…the golden ratio

‘The golden ratio is one of the most famous irrational numbers; it goes on forever and can’t be expressed accurately without infinite space.’Live Science 21. You are reading the scene in Elizabeth Gilbert’s The Signature of All Things when Ambrose Pike discovers the garden at Alma Whittaker’s grand house, and asks ‘what mad genius tookContinue reading “…the golden ratio”

…things people say

20.—Your Grandad lived by the phrase Moderation in all things. His garden contradicted this with its abundance of fruit and vegetables, but any excess found its way to the kitchens of friends and family. Mostly you remember the black grapes hanging like jewels from the ceiling of his greenhouse. They were full of pips andContinue reading “…things people say”