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.

28th July 2022

In many parts of the world we have been experiencing extreme heat.  Here in England the temperature has broken all previous records.  With normal weather we can adjust our clothing and our heating.  But we are now experiencing extreme temperatures with wild fires and droughts plus extreme rainfall with catastrophic flooding. Although reported as being due to climate change, I haven’t noticed these events triggering a change in policies or actions that would ameliorate this.  Let us hope for more response individually and corporately as we now know that we can and do influence the weather.

The weight of our thirst

The river lies dry and cracked
and I have further to go
for water.

I walk this path each day
carrying the weight of our thirst.

We dig beneath the land now
for the ancient water,
deeper and deeper,
like chasing memories.

This land holds our memories
but soon we will have to leave.

We will walk a long path,
the young, the old, the cattle,
carrying the weight of our loss.

29th June 2022

Every day, a 40 foot tree takes in 50 gallons of dissolved nutrients from the soil, raises this mixture to its topmost leaves, converts it into 10 pounds of carbohydrates and releases about 60 cubic feet of pure oxygen into the air.

A British oak tree is home to about 2,300 organisms including grey squirrels, little owls, ladybirds, aphids, crab spiders, the winter moth caterpillar and the spotted carion beetle.  Of these 1 in 7 ie 326 species only live on oak trees, and a further 229 are highly associated with them.  This is the breakdown:

Briophytes 229 species, Lichens 716 species, Fungi 108 species, Invertebrates 1178 species, Birds 38 species and Mammals 31 species.  If we included micro-organisms there would be thousands.

The damage that all the different caterpillars cause by eating leaves can cut the amount of energy the tree can gather from the sun by half.  When the tree detects it is being eaten, it releases volatile chemical compounds which signal for reinforcements – the blue tits.  Each eat about 100 caterpillars a day.  

Despite their importance, only 13% of the UK’s land area has tree cover compared to an EU average of 38%, which makes us one of the lowest levels of tree cover in Europe. Ancient Woodland is particularly important, yet there’s just 2.4% land area left in the UK. However we do have more ancient oak trees than anywhere else in Europe.

The way of lingering

The garden is full of soft sunshine and dappled shadows, the scent of blossom, the hum of bees and the song of birds.  It is a gentle, beguiling world softened by the play of shadows which still hold a slight moisture from their night’s sleep.  The leaves of the trees shimmer in a dance with a quiet rustling as the breeze lifts them, then lets them go.  They offer their shape and greenness to the face of the sun in a harmony of belonging.  The air is warm in the sun like silk and you can feel it carrying the fullness of this day as particles of pollen and scent brush across your skin.  And it is a Sunday, our sabbath of time saved from the routines of busyness so we can linger in the delight of the day. Have we lost the way of lingering?  Can we still notice the small wonders around us and store them in our treasure-box?  What difference would it make to our busy lives if we took care to let each beauty amaze us and fill us before going on our way, if we stopped to smell the flowers fronting the gardens that we pass?  Do we feel this is our world, do we live in the mutuality of it and enjoy the offerings of bird and flower as gift given to please us?  And do we gift them back with a smile or a touch, knowing our pleasure is a blessing?  This is the place to learn to listen, to live without the carapace that often guards us, and to find that the beauty we can see in ant and leaf and bud is the beauty we can find in our soul.

30th May 2022

The complex web of relationships in our ecosystems where each organism affects the others has not been fully recognized until comparatively recently.  One example of this is at Yellowstone Park.  Yellowstone Park was made a national park in 1872 but that did not protect the wolves who were all killed by the 1920’s to protect the ‘more valuable’ species.  They didn’t listen to the Scottish-American conservationist John Muir, the ‘Father of the National Parks’, who said “when we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else.”

Wolves had been the top predator and without them the elk and deer numbers exploded.  This caused overgrazing of young willows, aspen trees and cottonwood plants, which in turn led to a decline in songbirds and beavers, the latter of whom rely on willows in winter. As beavers declined in numbers, the lack of damming and shade meant water temperatures rose, and certain cold-water fish could no longer survive in Yellowstone.

After much discussion and not a little opposition, wolves were reintroduced in 1995.  The impact on the biodiversity of Yellowstone National Park was seen within the decade – much quicker than those involved in the project had expected.  Willow stands had been in bad shape due to overgrazing , but with pressure from wolves keeping elks on the move, the grazing was not so intensive, and so willow stands became more robust – meaning they could again accommodate songbirds. Willows are still recovering, but strong willows also meant beavers had an abundant food source. When the wolf was reintroduced in 1995, there was only one beaver colony left in Yellowstone. There are now many. As beavers dammed and built ponds, the trees thrived, and cold, shaded water returned to accommodate fish.

In recent years, with a lack of snowy winters in Yellowstone, wolves have become the primary cause for elk mortality. Scavenger species that once relied on winter-killed elk are still able to thrive without the snow thanks to wolf-killed elk.  This is benefiting ravens, eagles, magpies, coyotes and bears. Wolves also kill coyotes, which increases the populations of rabbits and mice, and in turn provides a wider food source for hawks, weasels, foxes and badgers.

27 years on, the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone is considered one of the most successful examples of rewilding to take place. It is a remarkable example of the ripple effect that one animal can have on an entire ecosystem, and a lesson for us of the value of all the different species.


My fruit trees
have lichen on their branches,
crusted green-grey
and mustard yellow,
another crop
along with the apples and plums,
telling me
like grey hair
that they have been here
for a while
and are worthy
of my respect.

30th April 2022

This is a time when so many of us are holding Ukraine in our hearts and thoughts.  But it is also a time when, for us in the Northern hemisphere, the earth is pouring herself out in a profusion of life and leaves and joy.  For me, this is a balance and a healing.  We need the life and the joy to balance the huge amount of anger, fear and sorrow that are being released at the moment. And for those who are feeling weighed down by this, the natural world can be such a place of healing.  Take a walk out where it is green. Breathe in the beauty of new life, and breathe out the pain.  We are about to enter our summer months as Beltane or May Day is the next day, May 1st.

I love May

I love May.  Everything is here, new-born after winter’s absence, fresh-green and glowing.  The newly hatched leaves are translucent and are as perfect as a baby’s toes, eliciting the same surge of awe.  The trees swell to their full size and you can just catch them in their playdays, unfurling fingers, learning the lure of the sun before they settle into the majesty of their maturity.  The world is green again, and for a moment it is surprise, it is joy, it is balm, before we acclimatise ourselves and it becomes backdrop to our everyday occupations.  I love the green, I drink it in deep breaths to water my parched heart.

And not just green.  The hedgerows are bright with white, hawthorn flowers above, cow parsley below, not the cultured pink of cherry blossom but mile upon mile of the bounty of the wild.  They shine as you drive past, they declare the winter dead and gone and celebrate the opening of the earth.

In May the sun can warm you mellow, playing remembered tunes on white skins.  It calls you outside, out of the dark domain of buildings and into the open air, newly refurbished and ready for custom.  And the air, the air is sweet, perfumed by the abundance of flowers so you don’t even need to hold one close to smell it.  The scents mingle with the sun to bathe you inside and outside with splendour.  At my house there is a waterfall of wisteria blossom over my porch door, and a cascade of white clematis over the back so whenever I enter or leave I am filled with the scent of May. 

1st April 2022

I have been reading ‘Braiding Sweetgrass’ by Robin Wall Kimmerer which I do recommend. It blends scientific knowledge with indigenous wisdom particularly regarding plants. She quotes the Anishinaabe story of creation of the first man, Nanabozho. ‘As he continued exploring the land, Nanabozho was given a new responsibility: to learn the names of all the beings. He watched them carefully to see how they lived and spoke with them to learn what gifts they carried in order to discern their true names. Right away he began to feel more at home and was not lonely anymore when he could call the others by name and they called out to him when he passed, ‘Bozho!’ – still our greeting to one another today.’

This could be the basis of the parallel biblical story in Genesis 2.19: ‘Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name.’ However the way it is written gives the impression that Adam (and therefore us) had some kind of authority and superiority over creation. Naming here looks like a way of control instead of knowledge, respect and relationship, not helped by Genesis 1.28 where they were told to subdue and rule the natural world. However the instruction in Genesis 2.15 was to work or serve the land and to take care of it. Let us follow this way, serving and taking care of the land, and the way of Nanabozho, watching and learning from the more-than human beings so that ‘each step is a greeting to Mother Earth’.

In accord with its name

The summer is sizzling the lawn. The short grass has bled its green into the dry earth and has taken on its colour, brown with yellow highlights in its hair from the steady sun. The longer blades are still green so the lawn is mottled with tufts of grass and suckers of trees, and with the green of wildflowers that have now come into their own. Clover predominates, trefoil leaves like lace and white flower heads with russet at the roots. In one corner I have a patch of bright yellow flowers waving in the breeze with deep purple below among the clover. The purple I know, it is self-heal, such a powerful name for so unprepossessing a plant. Perhaps previously we would all have know its uses, all have welcomed it as an easy remedy for infections or inflammations and picked it for our wounds and sores. That knowledge is no longer part of the common fund but is kept in herbalists’ purses. For us it is just a wildflower, but one I treat with respect because of its heritage.

And above, the yellow. How many dandelion-type yellow flowers there are, all glorious in their wild brightness. There are hawkbits and hawksbeards and hawkweeds, not to mention catsears, sow-thistles, nippleworts and various lettuces. I think mine is the lesser hawkbit. I have had them here for years and have never bothered finding their name before. Names make things more intimate, we have been introduced, we have a relationship. I have also found out the name of the wildflower that colonises all my beds, one I always addressed as ‘number 4’ as it was my fourth worst weed. It is herb bennet, and now I find I have to treat it more kindly in accord with its name.