Green Man: past and present

This is the Green Man that oversees my garden, courtesy of a local artist.

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I knew he had to be there as soon as I laid eyes on him, but I didn’t know much about his origins, apart from a vague association with pre-Christian beliefs.

UprootedSo I was happy to read Nina Lyon’s recently published book ‘UpRooted’.  This is a book about what little is known about this enigmatic figure, and its current revival.  It’s also about being English and Welsh in these first decades of this century and at times Lyon’s wry descriptions of some of our contemporary rites and rituals (and her own attempts to construct these) made me laugh out loud.  She weaves into these discussions of past and present philosophies about the relationships between Nature and spirituality.

This book is about place, as well as people and their ideas, especially the woods and valleys of the border lands between England and Wales, where the Green Man once had a significant presence.

She takes us to places where images of the Green Man were incorporated into the early medieval buildings of the newer Christian religion, in order, perhaps, to curtail the power of these earlier deities.

Her main focus is on the old kingdom of Archenfield, once a centre for Celtic beliefs, located in what we now call Herefordshire.  She takes us to Garway church, where there is a carving of a horned Green Man.  The church was built by the Knights Templar in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries on the site of an earlier wooden one, .


By Kxjan – Photographed from ancient stone carving., CC BY-SA 3.0,

This early Green Man is on an arch dated to around 1200 and why he is there is not known, but the warring activities of the Templars connect this rural building and place with countries and beliefs far away to the East.  Lyon gives us a detailed description of this image in her book but I wanted to see him for myself, at least digitally for now.   That is the main reason I am writing this post – not to attempt to summarise Lyon’s book (I’d rather you read it for yourself), but to look at these Green men she discusses and reflect on some of what she says about them.

She also takes us to the nearby Kilpeck church, built by local masons in the twelfth century.  These masons are thought to have been overseen by someone who trained, or worked in South West France, so we can see how two small, institutional buildings were part of global networks and set me thinking of William Golding’s richly imaginative account of this earlier time of building in ‘The Spire’.  Like globalising movements today, Kilpeck shows us the local in the global with its rich carvings from pre-Christian life and worship.  There are at least two Green Men, among a wonderful array of Celtic images.  Here is the one you see on the doorway, before going in:


Public Domain,

These two powerful images in Garway and Kilpeck are given a more abstracted, distancing human form, in strikingmy garden 2010 comparison to the contemporary Green Man who guards the fertility of my small garden, and oversees my desire to encourage wildness within it, with as light a management as my neighbours will tolerate.

However, the Green Man that was originally on the roof of Dore Abbey, built in the same century as those above, is more recognisably human and approachable :

This is what Nina Lyons says about this Green Man:

He had the demeanour of a laughing Buddha, or an anthropomorphised Sun. This was the Green Man of pub signs and summer-worship.

He is a Green Man made by the Cistercians, formed from within their beliefs of working with the land, and with animals, his smile and colour symbolising the beneficence of Nature, with blue skies and rich harvests.  He reminds me of the version of the old Roman god, Bacchus, who officiated over the drinking of wine and free for all sex, the powers of fertility and creation.  The two Green Men of Garway and Kilpeck, in contrast, index the havoc-wreaking power of Nature we have no control over – the roaring winds, the floods and droughts, the tree roots cracking through concrete and the joyous mass of plants that take back places we have abandoned.

I would like to know what the people who made these images called them, what the people who went into these buildings during that time thought and said about them in their Welsh or medieval English tongues.  They certainly wouldn’t have called them ‘the Green Man’.  As Lyon said, this is a very recent name, invented by Julia Hamilton, writing about folklore in 1939.  Lyon argues that much of the writing about figures such as the Green Man, like Hamilton’s, and those of the Late Victorian, have created new myths, based on speculation, because all we have is a diverse set of images like the ones I have included here, and a rag-bag of remnants of old tales and rites.

Still, as Lyon says, the Green Man himself, representing our relationship with the very force or soul of Nature, has always been with us, ‘It had been there all along, hidden at the edges, doing its own thing, like a wild man of the woods.

These days he is coming out of the edges and into our garden centres and our festivals in new forms, as this photo from the Pilton Green Man day shows.   I think the Green Man, in his multiple guises, is as important for us today as he was to our ancestors, local and global.

Here is a friend’s Green Man,  who watches over her garden – a very ‘foliate’ man, but also less alien than the early medieval representations. green man Mary


Green Man 2013 by Mary

‘Words are things’: Mary Kelly’s Multi-Story house


IMG_20150226_133142 mary kelly

Mary Kelly: Multi-Story House

Last month I went to the refurbished Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester.  I enjoyed the space and light that has been opened up in the development of this old red brick building, and the way it now blurs the boundaries between the park and gardens outside and the wide, white spaces inside.  I was especially struck by the way they have put together specific portraits from their permanent collection – where studies from the eighteenth century are hung next to contemporary paintings, sketches by unknown artists alongside the powerful works of Freud and Bacon.  Here is the link to this exhibition on their website: Whitworth Gallery: Portraits

The majority of the works are drawings and paintings that hang on walls, but they have also included less conventional ‘portraits’ such as the mix of feminist voices in the stories that are central to Mary Kelly’s ‘Multi-Story House’ (2007).  This small, warmly lit ‘glass house’ (the size of a garden shed) is what I want to focus on here.

In contrast with the images of all types of people on the surrounding walls, this bright object creates its portraits through words.  Instead of responding to a representation of a specific body, reading these ‘stories’ summons up a hubbub of different voices.  The words are all carved into acrylic panels in the same cursive style, all are in (or translated into) English, and all address the theme of feminism.  But the words in each extract conjure up a myriad of mouths, because each speaker draws on a differing choice of words and set of contexts.


The narratives are taken from conversations with women of different generations about being a feminist, and to read them you have to move around all the sides of the house, look up at the sloping roof, go inside to read those that present their back to you from the outside.  So it is a physical experience as well as a mental and emotional one, and one I felt I could ‘control’ by choosing which stories to read, by walking away to think about them, and returning later.  However, the artist directs your experience of  the relations between past and present by presenting all the younger women’s narratives on the outside, and the older generation of women (the same generation as the artist herself) on the inside.

Kelly said of this arrangement of time ‘you can’t be in both places‘ in a conversation with Paula McCloskey at the Whitworth in 2011.  She also said that through this ‘dialogue’ between generations of women she is addressing the question of ‘what (-) you feel that you’re obliged to carry on in terms of the legacy.

Questions are fundamental to her work as an artist, she stated in this interview: ‘I recognised that if an artist has a brief, it’s to ask the question – so that’s where I began in my work. It’s not about the answers,’

I like that approach – it makes sense to me – and perhaps helps me work through why I find some art works so stimulating, so thought-provoking.  They fill my mind with questions, they make me look again, physically or mentally.

Words are things

This is the title to a catalogue of an exhibition of her work in Warsaw in 2008.  I don’t know if Kelly chose this title or not, but it caught my eye as it is so central to her work, especially in Multi-Story House, where we are in the collective presence of other feminists through their words.  Words that you can see through, into the interior of the house, carved material symbols that take us on a journey into ourselves and into other selves.

In her conversation with McCloskey, Mary Kelly talked about the re-staging of a street theatre event, originally enacted in 1971, and she referred to the pleasure she remembered of being in the company of women acting together as feminists, a pleasure that re-occurred between the women involved in the re-staging in this century – the pleasure of a ‘collective presence‘.  This kind of pleasure describes well how I felt as I read the stories, and walked round and peered into her Multi-Story House.  I identified with the dialogue on the panels, and a felt a sense of belonging with these speakers from around the world, all actively embracing and re-affirming an identity that means so much to me too.

56_MaryKelly_Mea Culpa_Detail_Johannesburg_2

Mary Kelly: Mea Culpa 1997 from


Paula McCloskey, in conversation with Mary Kelly, Studies in the Maternal, 4(1), 2012,

Missing my creative self

P: but then I did hit a point where I had to carry on, carry on with something

K: it was like a real need?

P: yes, definitely, absolutely and having dreams about drawings.  It became a really strong thing.  It’s like a different part of yourself sort of shouting out for some attention.


Paul Klee, ‘Evening shows’,

The  extract above comes from an interview I did with an artist when researching into creativity and the words we use to talk about it.  Here P is referring to when she became a mother of twins and had no time for her art for a few years (see the page on my book ‘Sourcing the Self’ for more about this research).

I have been thinking about P’s words as I have currently been having to give most of main daily energy to work that gives me a basic income.  At certain times of the year these commitments don’t leave me enough space in the day to continue with my own creative work – in my case, writing. In these periods  I don’t dream about writing, as P did about drawing.  In fact, I’m more likely to dream about my work when I am engaged in daily writing, as I find myself living in the world I am creating through words.

Joyce Kozloff 'voyages 21 Pohnpei' 2004 at

Joyce Kozloff ‘voyages 21 Pohnpei’ 2004 at

I don’t experience such a clear inner voice as P either.  For me it’s more of an indistinct ‘malaise’,  more as if something – not quite tangible – is missing.  Life feels incomplete. During periods where I am working creatively every day I feel much more in balance, and I’m more likely to have an underlying feeling of contentment or something like ‘rightness’, even though I will often be struggling with the writing, and frequently frustrated with my lack of ability to find the right words or to keep going at a steady pace (instead of staring out of the window).

When I don’t have enough time in a week to work creatively then I often question the ‘meaningfulness’ of my life and have many doubts about the value of it, even though I don’t have any illusions that any creative writing of mine will be seen to be of any value to anyone else.  But at least I’m giving it a go, and, more importantly, I get absorbed in it and my experience of time changes dramatically.

Do you have similar experiences, I wonder?

J.Audubon 'Birds of America'

J.Audubon ‘Birds of America’

In praise of trees

Eaves wood, Lancs.

Eaves Wood, Lancashire

‘The Chinese count wood as the fifth element, and Jung considered trees as an archetype. Nothing can compete with these larger-than–life organisms for signalling the changes in the natural world. (…) Trees have a capacity to rise to the heavens and to connect us to the sky, to endure, to renew, to bear fruit, and to burn and warm us through the winter.’
Roger Deakin, ‘Wildwood’.

I can’t imagine living without trees.  As a child I used to climb them, and feel safe among the green leaves, hidden from view and supported by their strong limbs.  As an adult I walk in local woods and make trips to visit venerable and ancient trees.

Martindale yew, Cumbria

Martindale yew, Cumbria

This is one huge branch of the ancient yew tree at Martindale, in the Lake District, reaching out to support itself.    The stone chapel you can see in the photo was built in the twelfth century to accompany it and together they have co-existed in this small Cumbrian valley down the centuries.

This yew could be up to 2000 years old, like at least one of the three remaining standing of Wordsworth’s ‘Fraternal Four’ in Borrowdale, which I also had the privilege to visit.  I was lucky enough to be alone with them for a few hours one Christmas day, probably because it was pouring with rain.  The muscled, reddish-brown trunks glistened with raindrops as the wind blew curtains of rain through the valley.  Hard it was to take in the length of time they had spent in this place, shaped it.  Beneath the wind and rain, in the shelter of these huge yews, there was a hush, a serenity, that these old beings emanated.  I felt that Wordsworth might step out of the mist and into this grove, notebook in hand, as he did a mere one and a half centuries earlier.

Nan Shepherd (The Living Mountain) said of the fir trees of the Cairngorms:

‘the fragrance is the sap, is the very life itself. When the aromatic savour of the pine goes searching into the deepest recesses of my lungs, I know it is life that is entering.’

On that wild winter day in Borrowdale I felt that I was touching, and breathing in, not life, but the essence of time itself.

autumn woods

autumn woods

Walking through woods is a sensual experience, whatever the season.

Kicking up piles of crisp, golden leaves, hopping over knotted roots, listening to the woodpecker’s energetic drilling, breathing in the heady scent of bluebells or wild garlic, Middlewood walk May 2015 002tiptoeing past the tree hollow with its nest of shy owlets, sitting on a fallen log listening to the intense summer hum of insects, 2007_0922septemberB070034glimpsing a fox with a glorious brush tail pause as it sees you and the dogs then silently slip away,  resting in the cool green shade on a hot day, rejoicing in the shapely, frosted outlines of bare trees shimmering in the low winter sun.

Here is Nan Shepherd again, on the magic of birch woods:

‘Exquisite when the opening leaves just fleck them with points of green flame, or the thinning leaves turn them to a golden lace, (birch trees) are loveliest of all when naked. In a low sun, the spun silk floss of their twigs seems to be created out of light. Without transfiguration, they are seen to be purple – when the sap is rising, a purple so glowing that I have caught sight of a birchwood on a hillside and for one incredulous moment thought the heather was in bloom.’  (The Living Mountain).

Woods in the daytime and at dusk, woods in winter, spring, summer and autumn – Midsummer Night’s Dream, Under the Greenwood Tree, Wind in the Willows, Teddybears’ picnic….. but what about woods when darkness falls, when Hansel and Gretel are lost, the owls call and mysterious shapes loom in the shadows?

fir wood in Dumfries and Galloway

fir wood in Dumfries and Galloway

When the light goes, and the trees become an undifferentitiated dark mass then all the sounds in a wood become more noticeable, and the imagination gears up.  Where our eyes could see the crows on the low branches, now we only hear the rustle of bush and leaf.  Where we could see the path stretching out empty, now who knows what may be ahead or behind us?  Our imagination – or at least, my imagination – has been fed by all those old fairy tales I read as a child.  Tales that go way back into the past when stories were told, not written, and we all lived surrounded by large dark forests, where you really could get lost, meet strangers, face danger.

2014-04-22 15 05 23As Clarissa Pinkola Estes describes when discussing the tale of the handless maiden, these forests were often the very places where the protagonists had to face their fears and discover their individual psyche or self (Women who run with the wolves):

This large wild forest that the maiden finds is the archetypal sacred initiatory ground.  It is like Leuce, the wild forest the ancient Greeks said grew in the underworld, filled with the sacred and ancestral trees and full of beasts, both wild and human.

It is also in the middle of forests that you need to go to seek out the Baba Yaga, the wild woman who knows about both life and death, learn the powers of intuition, as part of your journey towards maturation.

Spending time in the much smaller woods we have around us today, working to protect them, getting a little lost in the process of getting to know them in all their seasons, is one way to get to know yourself, as well as the trees that create the enchantment of these special places.  Clarissa Pinkola Estes urges us to go out into the woods;

If you don’t go out in the woods, nothing will ever happen and your life will never begin.’  (Clarissa Pinkola Estes)

crab apples

crab apples

Frack off! So demonstrating is not dead?

photographed by Mary Hamilton

Anti-fracking demonstration, Preston 23/6/15

On Tuesday 23 June I found myself back on the streets, holding a placard and shouting anti-fracking slogans to the passing cars.  All this in Preston, UK, as Lancashire County Council deliberated over proposals from Cuadrilla to start fracking in two sites in the county.  Voicing my opinion in public, in the company of like-minded others, has been, for me, a normal activity, having gone to university in 1968, one of the key years of rebellion and sit-ins that flowed across the channel from Paris.  Collective demonstrations and marches were part of what it meant to be a university student for many of us – protesting against the apartheid system, nuclear weapons, wars.

These recent anti-fracking demonstrations have contributed to positive results so far, thankfully.   In Preston the County Council finally rejected both proposals for fracking licenses.  (This will not be the end of the fight though as the current government is threatening to overirde these crucial, local decisions).  I’m sure all the petitions and expert submissions to the consultation were the main cause of this happy outcome in Lancashire, but a street presence was important too, with

Anti-fracking demonstration, Preston 23/6/15

Mr Frackhead, a huge puppet bellowing out his greed for the fossil fuels under the ground, hot polar bears and Lancashire ladies in rollers tucked under headscarves, brandishing their feather dusters.

Anti-fracking demonstration, Preston 23/6/15

The demonstration was noisy but humorous and considerate to other users of the street and I felt instantly at home when I joined in.  There were not, though, the few thousands of people I had hoped to be there for a national demonstration.  Has demonstrating become a minority activity in England these days?  Where were all the students?

I wonder if the long-term lack of success of big street demonstrations has reduced the numbers joining in these collective actions here in the England?

My own view on the value of demonstrating had certainly become less positive by the end of the last century.  So much so that I was very reluctant to join in the series of anti-Iraq invasion marches when Blair was prime minister.   ‘What was the point?’ I asked myself.  However, when the farce about Iraq having weapons of mass destruction grew more and more ridiculous I, like millions of others around the world, got up at the crack of the UK dawn on February 15th 2003,and sat on a coach as it headed down the M6 to the capital.  I remember the rising excitement as we spotted coach after coach on the motorway, all heading the same way, with banners and placards at the windows.  There was certainly no disappointment about numbers that day as we joined the huge snaking tail of the march, and danced behind the bands and chatted with fellow marchers, my cynical coat tossed into the gutter.

Anti-Iraq War march, 15/2/03 by Simon Rutherford -

Anti-Iraq War march, 15/2/03
by Simon Rutherford –

I felt privileged to be part of the huge diversity of the protestors, reflecting the larger population – people of all ages and colours ; people proclaiming their differing faiths, families with young children, local communities and organsiations.  Here is a short extract from my journal that I wrote the next day:

Near Picadilly a man and a woman stood at the side of the road with handwritten placards- one of which said, “I am Iraqi and I give thanks on behalf of my people.”  We saluted them – a moving moment – the two of them were brave and proud and humble all at the same time.

There was a feeling of coming together, across different identities, lives and beliefs – a very tenuous and fragile union of different peoples – but present none the less.

I was so glad I had shrugged off my layer of cynicism and became a part of that very special day.  It showed me, once again, that my passions and values were also the passions and values of a large and diverse section of the country I am a citizen of.  Yet Blair, like Thatcher before him (I’m thinking of the miners’ strikes), refused to be swayed from his rigid perspective by these millions of people marching in his own city, and across the world.  As Patrick Barkham wrote in the Guardian on the tenth anniversary of this march, this failure led to mass disillusion about British democracy ( .  It could, I think, be argued that the continuing decline in voting numbers for general elections, and the increasing distrust of politicians has been fuelled by Blair’s refusal to take account of this huge anti-war protest.  Its immediate failure certainly cemented my own disillusionment about the power of the mass demonstration.  We still have nuclear weapons in the UK and we are still trying to safeguard the planet.

Like many other women I had also been part of two of the larger rallies at Greenham Common, demonstrating against the presence of American Cruise missiles in this country.  On those days I experienced the power of solidarity with other women, and the courage born from it.

Now that was a successful collective action, eventually, thanks to the dedicated team of women who gave up their daily lives, and sometimes their freedom, for the time it took to free England from these weapons of mass destruction.  This success only came out of dedication, perseverance and committment though.  It required much more from those who achieved it than the odd day of getting up early and joining together with a mass of others sharing the same values.  More recent collective actions such as Occupy have learnt this need for committment to a more enduring identity of protest.

Is there a future for the shorter, mass gathering on the streets (or in threatened green spaces) with other citizens in this country?  Our TV and computer screens show that this is a form of action very much alive in other countries where goverment decisions are seen to have a more immediate impact on their lives.

Barkham argues that the huge anti-Iraq war led to disillusion, but that it also shaped the future lives of many of those who took part in the protest and led to new forms of protest.  He interviewed some of the younger people who joined that march, including a volunteer steward, Shamiul Joarder.  He quotes Joarder as saying, “You can’t go to one protest and think that things are going to change for ever. You can’t email your MP once. We have to engage in a long-term process,”.  Greenham Common showed this too. To create change takes more than a day on the streets with a placard.

Street protests may not bring about immediate change but I think they still have a place within the array of political and

Anti-fracking demonstration, Preston 23/6/15

social activities.  My recent short stint on the streets of Preston has helped me to trample on my heavy coat of cynicism.  These gatherings are important to build solidarity with likeminded others, to renew our energies and proclaim those values that are so important to us.  I shall be back!

Photographs of the Preston demonstration were taken by Mary Hamilton.

Post election reflections: shedding the ego

Dama by Antonio Saura 1958

Dama by Antonio Saura 1958

Since the election results in the UK those of us in England who are passionate about caring for all the species on our planet, have been full of despair. Those of us in England who are trying to build an egalitarian society, where all can flourish, have been full of despair. During the election the atmosphere throughout this long island has been suffused with fear and anxiety and negative campaigning.  That’s why I have started this post with one of Antonio Saura’s powerful works. They show, in a way I can’t with words, my current feelings of alienation – through his strong thick brush strokes, his sober palette of colours, his sharp edges.  The white strokes caught up, overwhelmed, in this jangle signify, for me, the glimmer of hope shared by many of us as we went to vote.

Time, I thought, to turn back to Roy Bhaskar. Could he help free me from these negative feelings? Help me struggle out of the mires of defeat and find ways to carry forward our vision without acrimony?

He reminds me that to be is to be related.

He reminds me that I cannot myself be free or fulfilled until all beings are also free and fulfilled.

He reminds me of the role of the ‘ego’ that is so self-evident in the voting patterns at the outcome of this election.  Here is his description of this, from ‘Reflections on Meta-Reality’, page 137:

It is that sense we have of ourselves as separate and cut off from the rest of creation, that sense of my separate identity against yours. That sense that in some way I can exist independently of you and that you are not a part of me and that in some way my well being does not depend on your well being. That is the ego. Western philosophy and our contemporary society is structured around the idea of the individual self which possesses. And this individual possessive self stands in possessive, instrumental relation to an object world which is outside of himself. (……….) That is the ego, that is the sense of separateness that we have, and that is an illusion and, to be free, we have to get rid of it.

He reminds me that we all have to be continually working to be aware of our own negative emotions that come from our egos, and continually clearing them in order to become ‘like a translucent vessel with no dust to disturb its translucent irradiating qualities.’  In that way we each can act to transform rather than reproduce the current social structures we are working in.

He reminds me that

the only way you can act, ever act, is through yourself. You can only act through or in virtue of your embodied personality. (..) I can only act through myself and then I cannot free you. I can unlock the door but you have to walk out. Emancipation or freedom is not something that can be imposed from without. Every embodied personality has to free themselves.(p. 147)

I can only act myself but I can always try to act to maximise the self-realisation of all beings everywhere.

He argues that capitalism is fed by the negative emotions of the ego – desires, greed, pride but also reminds us that it is also sustained by the virtues of creativity and love of those enmeshed within its asymmetrical networks.

Creative human beings could survive without oppressive or dysfunctional systems of economic or political or for that matter religious management and control. But those systems could not survive without the creativity of human agents. (pp. 316-7, meta-Reality: Creativity, Love and Freedom)

He reminds me that I need to continually be aware of my own illusory, but powerful ego; that I need to continually clear it so that my acts can be transformative.  ‘Anything you do intentionally will be mediated by your emotions’.

I will finish this post with the essential quality of love, which for Bhaskar is the powerful, healing force at the ground-state of us all:

I prefer to think in terms of five radiating circles of love. When you are in one circle this will almost inevitably take you into other circles. These circles are the circle of love for yourself; for another human being; for the totality of other human beings; for the totality of other beings in creation; and for the source or sustaining power in creation itself (p.181, meta-Reality: Creativity, Love and Freedom).

Drum sound rises in the air,               

its throb, my heart.September 2011 Essex and Suffolk 003

A voice inside the beat

says ‘I know you’re tired,

but come. ‘This is the way’.

Jellaludin Rumi, quoted by Bhaskar in meta-Reality: Creativity, Love and Freedom)

Watching the terns

clouds and sea

I stood, a small static spot in the wide sweep of
the white sand and seething sea, amazed by
the show as terns flew above the shore and hurtled
into the waves below.

J.Audubon 'Birds of America'

J.Audubon ‘Birds of America’

These agile artists etched erratic silver
streaks into the deep blue canvas of the
sky; haphazard strokes connecting sunlight to salt grey
water, then dissolving.

Sometimes my slow eyes could only catch the quick
flick of sea foam as these sea swallows plunged beneath
the waves, creating sporadic explosions
of stippled spray.

The bravura patterns of moving light, made from these
acrobats’ sheer steep falls from the air, are seasonal star
performances within the eternal drama of sea and sky unfolding
on Embleton sands.

But these winged artists also use a different set of rules to
draw on land, I found, while loitering along the shore and
snooping into rock pools. At the water’s edge I saw
a pair of terns begin their act.

First they faced each other, then
each turned to sketch a perfect
circle on the wave polished sand.

Facing each other once more
they dipped their heads and brought
the tips of their beaks together,
before each carefully stepped out
and round their circle again,

incising their spiked claw prints,
firming, confirming, returning.
Finally they stood close together
looking out to sea, two small grey
backs resolutely excluding me.

from the International Bird Collection

from the International Bird Collection

The nonchalant ease of their plummeting sky falls and careful
courtship circles kept me returning to these sands, trying to
interpret these abstract forms produced from
their briny elements.

sea and skyI watched these terns on Embleton Sands, Northumberland, but I was so busy ‘snooping’ that I didn’t take photos while there.  For this post I have used photos of another sea on the opposite side of England, on Morecambe Bay.  There are no terns here, sadly, but there are shorelines, sands, clouds and big skies.  The photo above was taken, not by me, but by a friend (thanks Mary) on a a late afternoon walk we shared, walking around just one small part of it.