Friday, 8 February 2013


I'm running out of wood!!!!! The supply stacked in the corner of my work room is dwindling, it constists more now of spindly sticks than stout staffs and that is worrying. Very worrying.
I am at my happiest when the corners of my workshop are filled to over flowing and although I may curse and complain when I'm pushed for space and it's all getting in my way, I get a perculiar pleasure from just knowing it is there, from sorting it, stacking it, arranging it, planning what I might be able to do with it. It makes me very nervous when there isn't very much of it there.
Ordinarily this wouldn't be a problem, my little witch and I would plan a few days exploring the woods, scrambling through the undergrowth (ok, she would be scrambling through the undergrowth as I sit watching from a convienient log, directing the search. My scrambling days are over I'm afraid, my hips and back and shoulder protest loudly at the merest mention of scrambling anywhere!) But there is a problem. The incessant rain that seemed to fall last year, almost from beginning to end, has left the woods sodden, the wood rotten and useless.
It would be easier, perhaps, if I were prepared to cut from living trees but I won't do that. It's a matter of principle, I will only take wood from the forest floor, freely given. I know there are those among you who perhaps prefer the energies of wood taken from a living tree for their wand and staff and it's a matter of personal preferance obviously, but myself I simply cannot justify cutting down something that should be living, especially not when I'm creating something for others to use, cutting living wood for ritual tools requires building a relationship with the tree, something better suited for personal tools. Having said that however, I don't think it would do me much good if I did. The very trees themselves are soggy it seems, the local woods are full of oak and beech that quite literally are oozing water. Even if the wood were not rotten, the drying process would take an eternity.
The coastal areas around here are the worst, but even inland areas of well drained high ground seem to be suffering. I worry for the future of our woodlands and forests. This blurring of seasons we seem to be experiencing is taking it's toll. Unseasonally warm winters and soggy summers of recent years, and spring and autumn days which don't seem to know if they are coming or going are taking their toll. Our landscape is changing, slowly, almost imperceptably, but it's changing.
I holding out hope for a warm, dry summer this year. Maybe that will go someway to redress the balance.
In the meantime, if anyone knows of a dry wood supply.... 

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Of Bread and Breakers and Beginnings

January has been long and hard and I'm glad it is behind me. It has been cold and tough. It has been a challenge. My health has been poor, our finances have been low and it has been cold...did I mention that? It's been bloody freezing in fact, and I hate being cold. My aching bones protest more violently as each year passes and I feel less inclined to fight it. The urge to withdraw is strong, to simply gather in and huddle up and forget the outside world exists at all. Cocoa and hot water bottles are my preferred companions at times like this and that makes me feel old and weary as the world whirls around me without me in it.
The leaden grey skies weighed heavy throughout January and inspiration seemed hard to come by. Even my workroom seemed a cold and uninviting place, but I wonder, maybe this is natural through the grey months of the year? We put so much focus on January as a time of fresh starts and new beginnings and yet this is an unnatural, artificial and enforced start dictated by the calendar rather than the season. A series of days and numbers, collected together and forced upon us, manipulating our lives, our focus, our patterns. If we were to take away the calendar what would we do? If we threw all those days and months and numbers up in the air and said forget them, they're not important, what would happen? Would we fall apart, unable to keep in step or would we settle into a more natural pattern, one that fits with the rhythms of our bodies and the cycles of the earth?
We set our lives by that 'magical' first day, first month, and wipe the slate clean of all that has gone before, filling ourselves with false hope and irrational expectations when, in reality, nothing has changed. It's just another day, just another month. We force ourselves into fresh starts, new diets, new challenges, at a time when perhaps we should be drawing in and resting, recovering, recharging... and preparing for the fresh starts still to come.
Far better, I think, to be still through the dark, to keep warm through the bitter cold. To wait, to watch, to think, to plan, to build strength ready for the coming of spring and launch all those new plans at a time of growth.
January, for me, was a time to snuggle up and enjoy those simple home comforts of love and soup and homemade bread (something my wife excels at)
Fresh from the oven
Soda Bread
and I am more than happy to eat as much as she can make. There is joy to be had from a warm, buttered, golden loaf on a cold, grey day. It is pleasure beyond measure.
And on those rare days I ventured out, I soaked up the beauty of the wild coast to feed my soul,
Wild Cornish Coast
Waves Crashing onto Cornwall
drawing in energy ready for the turning of the seasons and new beginnings and a return to work.
Blessed Imbolc.