These emails are sent out every new moon as a day to particularly remember our beautiful planet in prayer, meditation, awareness or involvement, with love, hope and gratitude. If you would like to be on the mailing list then please Contact Jane.

14th October 2023

Bill and I live on the north-west edge of London so we have London clay under our house and in the garden which, as its name suggests, is a clay that fills the London basin.  Underneath it, and outcropping further north-west in the Chiltern hills, is chalk.  Between the two are sandy gravelly beds called the Lambeth Group.  There are other gravels nearby that the River Thames and its tributaries deposited before, during and after the last ice age when its course and the volume of water it carried were different from today.  Our ancestors, the people who lived here in Mesolithic and Neolithic times, apparently didn’t favour the clay and you find their stone tools in the sand and gravel beds, some locally where we walk our dogs.

They would have been much more aware of the different elements that made up their landscape than we are today.  The Icknield Way is a route that was old before the Romans came.  It follows the line of the chalk hills near here and extends from Dorset to Norfolk.  It gave those who travelled for trade or hunting or social/religious gatherings a route that would have been dryer than the clay and elevated with better views of the surrounding countryside.

Wherever we live, and whatever buildings or plants are covering it, under our feet are the rocks that contain the history of our planet and the history of our people.

Durlston, Dorset

Rock, solid fortress
against the sea,
jagged grey islands splitting
the covering carpet of green,
tripping the stumbling walker,
resisting the burrowing seeds,
reminding the visiting seers
that underneath the growing, greening,
trembling harvest
is the dense, unchanging face
of earth, foundation rock,
heavy and hard to shoulder
the buffeting weather,
carrying the load of life
that grows on its slopes.

Without its strength
there would be no waving grasses,
no wind-trimmed bushes,
no home for beetle and rabbit.
Because it is still, we can move,
carelessly following
the contours of its face.
If we look skin-deep at the land
we won’t discern the heart of it,
the weight of it,
that anchors us all.


What is the age of a moth,
fluttering in darkness
and counting days in eddies
of light?
A spoonful makes the measure
of life.

The mosquito counts years
in hours,
seizing the day.
The sloth, though,
is born old,
time trickles through its fancies
like water through rock,
feeding secret caverns
of thought.

Trees’ slow-grown rings
beat time like an ancient clock,
sounding the rhythm of years,
the girth of their growth
gathering the substance of summer.

My growth
is harder to measure,
an invisible garnering of wisdom
and spirit
that can light time,
allowing the turn of the earth
to furnish a rhythm
of fading leaves, stiffening boughs

and fruit.

15th September 2023

Beneath the things that we usually notice, our planet is made of rock.  A rock looks solid and static, but our planet is dynamic.  Rocks are still accumulating or eroding, and the large tectonic plates the surface consists of are slowly moving.  Europe/Africa and the Americas are moving apart by about 2cm a year with lava filling the gap to form the mid-Atlantic ridge.  As the lava solidifies, the little ferro-magnesian crystals form first and point north.  But as you examine the rocks further away they point south, then north and so on showing that the earth’s magnetic field regularly reverses its polarity.  Where the plates come together there is usually a subduction zone with one plate going under the other forming the oceanic trenches with an arc of volcanoes behind.  Sometimes the sediment on the sea floor is pushed up into a chain of mountains such as the Alps and Himalayas as two plates come together which is why you get marine shells at the top of Everest.  These movements mean that the rocks under our feet were probably formed at a different latitude and climate zone than they are in now. 

Sedimentary rocks, the clays, sandstones and limestones, were usually deposited under water although some are desert sandstones or glacial moraine.  There are volcanic rocks formed from lava or ash, and also from magma that has been intruded into the earth’s crust without reaching the surface until eroded later such as Dartmoor and the Whin sill.  And lastly there are metamorphic rocks like slate, marble, schist and gneiss that have been changed by heat and/or pressure.

What are the rocks in your local area? How and where were they formed? And what are they useful for?


are not just
out there,
they are living memories
of our planet’s past,
still moving, changing,

We are not
separate from them.
They affect
our landscape, our soil,
our plants, our food,
our bodies.

This is humankind’s
oldest relationship.

16th August 2023

How much do you know about moss?  We see it covering stones of old walls, and west facing tree trunks.  We see it tended and venerated in Japanese gardens.  But moss is special.  Did you know it was the first plant to colonise the land 450 million years ago when there was no soil, just hard rock.  Other plants need soil for their roots but moss has no roots.  You can see it growing now on recent lava flows, bringing green to the black wastes.  On our early planet, moss created a fertile soil enabling other plants to grow on land, and the oxygen it produced enabled other life to thrive.

Moss can withstand extreme conditions better than all other plants.  You can find it in hot springs, and in a core sample from the south pole.  It is not adversely affected by radiation, but it can be used as an early warning system as the water inside it can be measured for the radiation it contains.  If it dries out, it can go into a state of suspended animation for decades, and then quickly revive as soon as it rains.  A new plant can grow back from a tiny fragment of leaf. Moss can produce herbicides and bactericides.  And they are one of the organisms most resistant to climate change.  There are about 25,000 different species.  How many different kinds of moss can you find?  In what ways can you identify with them? 

My piece this month is not about moss but our August weather.

Weymouth beach

It’s August and the day hangs grey and wet, there is spittle in the air, there are clouds near the ground.  The sun is not an orb.  His light has been diluted and muted and refracted and captured by all the balls of rain so there is a faint luminescence of grey like an oyster’s dream.  The gulls don’t mind, they still sing their silly song and strut the wet beach. 

There are two tides on the beach, two edges of water – the sea that scoops and scallops the lower sand, and the run-off from the pavement that dribbles and drools down the steps and edges.  There is no-man’s land in between, pock-marked with yesterday’s footfalls, littered with crashed castles washed to ruin.  Their people have all left and will be sitting cosy in cafes or edgy and waiting in holiday homes.  The most beautiful thing is a gull’s feather, lying white on clay-coloured sand, small and silent, collecting drops of rain like jewels.  This is how the day begins.  And, strangely, it is easier to walk the beach at first rising when it is flat and empty than when it is full of sunbeams and promise and people.  For here it is just my day and there is room in it for me to reach out and touch like the foot of a mussel.  It is safe to let in for it is simple and unaffected, a backdrop for love, a table for wonder.

Another country

Sometimes time fades
and the grey minutes
of ordinary days
are lit with a hidden sun
so there is no bleak thought,
no work that is heavy
or humdrum
but all shine
as if love has been let loose
to settle on or in each thing
like snow.