ARTS NATURE WRITING
The Great Conversation Peter Reason explores the significance of new Nature writing
Walking along the soft turf of the coastal path at Birsay on Orkney, my attention is caught by a patch of thrift, waving in the onshore breeze. A few flowers on their tough little stems have opened, reaching for the sun, pink petals shading into purple; others are still bundled in tight buds, the overlapping petals making for an intense cerise.
Below, lines of jagged rocks emerge along the foreshore, strata tipped from the horizontal and broken across so the layers of sedimentation are clearly evident. In places the strata are broken vertically, appearing as building blocks ready to hand for Neolithic architects – they who constructed the tomb at Maeshowe and the great stone circles of Brodgar and Stenness. In the valleys between the ridges, boulders of assorted sizes and colours, rounded by the sea, lie tossed into rough heaps.
The sea is retreating with the falling tide. The waves gather in the shallows, break just offshore, roll up the slope of the beach and spill over the broken rocks. White foam pours down, inundating the little inlets and rock pools, then streams back into the sea.
Higher up the foreshore, rock pools are now completely separated from the sea, warming in the thin sunshine. Small children, barefoot, crowd around them, hauling up crabs and other living things in nets, dropping them into their bucket and rushing back to show Mum.
I look back at the thrift. It seems so fragile here, growing in shallow soil, exposed to the
Nature writing takes us into a connection with the more-than-human world Black yacht off the Dorset coast by Julian Bailey www.sladersyard.co.uk
Resurgence & Ecologist