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Nature

Coming up roses

Wednesday, 26 June, 2019

“It was June, and the world smelled of roses. The sunshine was like powdered gold over the grassy hillside.” — Maud Hart Lovelace

Roses


Corvus cornix under anthriscus sylvestris

Saturday, 1 June, 2019

Cow parsley (Anthriscus sylvestris) is a short-lived perennial plant that’s native to Europe, northwestern Africa and western Asia. It’s ability to spread rapidly means it is defined as “an invasive species” in many parts of the USA and, in Iceland, cow parsley has been classified as an “alien invasive species”.

The hooded or grey crow (Corvus cornix) has a distinctive grey and black plumage. It’s an omnivore and will eat practically anything, including insects, other birds’ eggs, berries, fish and carrion. Widespread throughout Ireland, where it is known as the “scawl crow”, the bird has endured centuries of persecution, largely due to the belief that it kills young game birds and harms livestock — especially lambs.

Gray crow


The Genus Rosa

Friday, 29 March, 2019

An anecdote from the introduction to The Genus Rosa by the British horticulturalist Ellen Willmott, which was published in two volumes between 1910 and 1914:

“The Persian poet Omar Khayyam, who flourished in the eleventh century, has much to say about Roses. A hip from a Rose planted on his grave at Nashipur was bought home by Mr. Simpson, the artist of the London Illustrated News. It was given to me by the late Mrs. Bernard Quaritch, and reared at Kew. It proved to be Rosa damascena, and a shoot from the Kew plant has now been planted on the grave of his first English translator, Edward FitzGerald.”

Roses at home


The Kilauea Eruption

Saturday, 24 November, 2018

One of this year’s most impressive expressions of natural violence was provided by Hawaii’s Kīlauea volcano, which wreaked devastation across the Big Island and displaced thousands of people, while destroying 700 houses and wiping out the state’s largest freshwater lake. Andrew Richard Hara captured the grandeur of the lava in flow.


No words needed: The Silence of The Dolomites

Monday, 6 August, 2018

“Each mountain in the Dolomites is like a piece of art. Le Corbusier called them the most beautiful buildings in the world. He said God built them; I’d say nature did. They are so vertical, and each peak is different. The Dolomites have a special face: no other range in the world has this.” — Reinhold Messner, South Tyrolian explorer

Casper Rolsted, who describes himself as a “visual artist specialized in timelapse and aerial photography”, would agree, no doubt, with every word Messer says, except that he thinks they aren’t necessary. That’s why the Dane has created The Silence Project: “If we silent listen to nature in undisturbed places without prejudices we can experience the big diversity of nature and the faintest sounds gain their original importance in the soundscape.”


Rainy Day in the Galtee Mountains

Friday, 20 April, 2018 0 Comments

Regular reader and intermittent poet, Liam Murray, is so captivated by this blog’s title and header photo that he has combined the two in verse. The Galtee Mountains pictured above were the fons et origo of our great mother, God rest her soul, and they remain our spiritual home. The Golden Vale mentioned below was a tract of nearby pasture land that represented a form of earthly paradise for mother and father, who cultivated their own fields and gardens as if they, too, were golden. And they were.

Rainy Day in the Galtee Mountains

The gathering clouds announce a change
The Galtee Mountains turn a shadowed blue
Quieter birds in hedge rows sense the mood
Distant rolling thunder fills the ear.

Clouds carrying rivers of rain
Continue to flow across the plain
Bushes shake in windy salute,
In the moist filled air across the Golden Vale.

The deluge pours on expectant fields
Blades of grass glisten; laced with rain drops
Sails of cloud continue to unfurl,
Above it all the sun still shines.

Liam Murray

Cullane Garden


Bob Dylan: Trouble No More

Monday, 26 March, 2018 0 Comments

Back in 1979, Bob Dylan announced to the world that he had converted to Christianity. He then became a man of The Word, touring inexorably, performing concerts only of songs that expressed his born-again message. One of the concerts was filmed but the material was never released. There was talk in recent times that it might form basis for a documentary, but Dylan intervened and demanded the commissioning of a series of “sermons” to be preached between the songs before the film could be screened. The writer Luc Sante was contracted to compose the sermons and Oscar-nominated actor Michael Shannon was cast as the Preacher. Jennifer LeBeau was tasked, as they say, with directing the “gospel service.” The result, Bob Dylan: Trouble No More, will be shown on Good Friday night on BBC Four. Praise the Lord!

“She said, ‘This man, this man, He must be a prophet’
She said, ‘This man, this man, He must be a prophet’
She said, ‘This man, this man, He must be a prophet’
‘He done told me everything I’ve ever done'”


Lapland

Thursday, 7 December, 2017 0 Comments

Yesterday, here, we paid tribute to Finland, which is celebrating its 100th birthday, and today we’re visiting Lapland, where the salmon are yuuuuuge! As Hooké, who filmed this clip, says: “Laplanders trace le portrait de ceux qui vivent en harmonie avec les rivières dans le nord de la Suède où l’on y retrouve le Saumon Baltique. Voici leur conquête infinie pour essayer de le capturer.”

Hooké: “Born on the river in 2012 Hooké is a crew of artists, photographers, filmmakers, and writers who are passionate about creating a fly fishing community, experiencing epic journeys, and giving a voice to those we meet along the way. Hooké is the story of the people who live for and by nature : the pilot and the guide, the hunter and the hermit, the fly tier and the outfitter. At the end of the day they are the people who prolong the existence of traditions, protect their environment, share their knowledge and influence our practices.”


Autumn in the Alps

Saturday, 18 November, 2017 0 Comments

Specializing in what it calls “Aerial solutions for film production,” 5kdigitalfilm is a production facility based in Austria and the UK. Its clip, “Perpetual Change — Autumn in the Alps,” captures the beauty and solitude we experience amidst the great mountains.

“But if there was something roguish and fantastic about the immediate vicinity through which you laboriously made your way, the towering statues of snow-clad Alps, gazing down from the distance, awakened in you feelings of the sublime and holy.” — Thomas Mann, The Magic Mountain


Pursuing the undulatus asperatus

Friday, 28 July, 2017 0 Comments

“The work on this film began on March 28th and ended June 29th,” says stormchaser Mike Olbinski. He drove 28,000 miles across 10 US states and spent 27 days pursuing the storms that have been condensed into the spectacular clip he calls Pursuit. “I snapped over 90,000 time-lapse frames,” he writes. “I saw the most incredible mammatus displays, the best nighttime lightning and structure I’ve ever seen, a tornado birth caught on time-lapse and a display of undulatus asperatus that blew my mind.”


A bevy of mysterious, beautiful swans

Sunday, 10 July, 2016 0 Comments

A group of swans in flight becomes “a wedge,” but it’s called “a bevy” on the water. The genus Cygnus has its own terminology of the collective and the literature also offers “a colony of swans” and, best of all, “a whiteness of swans.” When W.B. Yeats observed The Wild Swans at Coole, he was taken by their transitory nature:

“But now they drift on the still water
Mysterious, beautiful;
Among what rushes will they build,
By what lake’s edge or pool
Delight men’s eyes, when I awake some day
To find they have flown away.”

Wild swans