And that is only the plastic we can see.
When William Blake wrote his often quoted lines "To see the world in a grain of sand"
the idea of a beach filled with microscopic synthetic polymers
was surely even beyond his fabulous imagination.
But in the 40 years since we began to mass produce plastic items
That is what we have created.
\But the waves still rise and fall, ebbing and flowing
Thank you all for your loving and supportive comments on my last post - both here and in other places. I was deeply touched, and felt so held by your kindness. The news is positive - he has multiple fractures to the back and pelvis, but once these have healed, then he will eventually walk out. We are so thankful.
He remembers the scene inside the tank - his hat being blown off, being aware that three of his friends were dead, seeing another colleague struggling as her body armour constricted her airway, and getting up to help - thinking that his back was sore. We are so proud of him.
I wrote last time of how "real" this story was - and it is - it's happening to us right now. And your comments so eloquently expressed that feeling of connectedness. But since then, I suppose have been in a bit of a bubble. I have no idea how many more people have died as a result of conflict - how many more families have had their lives put on hold because of the loss or wounding of a loved one - how many more young people are now facing a life with debilitating injuries, mental health trauma or issues we will never know about. They do not become part of my reality. I see newsbites on TV - read a few columns in a newspaper, or notice it "trending" online. I feel sadness and distress for those involved, but then we are moved on to the next story. It has to be that way, because we could not bear such sorrow...
We would be so overcome with grief and anger that we would all rise up in a fury and demand an end to it - make it end! We would be outraged every time we heard of our brothers and sisters killed or injured somewhere in the world. Grief-stricken every time we heard our children being described as "collateral damage". Beside ourselves with anger and sadness whenever our mothers and fathers were forced to flee their homes with only the clothes on their backs - and sometimes a bullet there too. Wouldn't we?
So -can love save the world? Maybe - but right now I think we need more than that. We need real, righteous, loving anger, and I am angry! Angry about all these wars and my greed that causes them. I am angry at the loss of so many wild and precious lives*, just because they happen to be lived in the wrong place. I am angry that our very home is being lost to us all. How did I let that happen on my watch? I am angry that I am killing other creatures with my waste and sloth. I am angry because for years I have allowed myself to just move on to the next story.
I am angry - and I suppose that is better than just being sad.
But - even writing this, I am overwhelmed at the magnitude of it all. The sheer size of the problems that I have helped create. What possible solutions are there? How can I make a difference to any of this? Sure, I can "like" a few posts on facebook, or retweet a couple of links. I can read blog posts and books, watch videos and nod my head until it falls off.
Already I feel myself slipping from anger to despair.
And that is how it works.
That is why we are in this mess.
And because it isn't directly affecting my reality right now
I can allow myself the luxury of despondency
I have no idea where I am going with this - it is all still too fuzzy. All I can do for now is to put it out there -
Three British soldiers have died after their armoured vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb in Helmand, Afghanistan.
The soldiers were from the Royal Highland Fusiliers, the 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland.
Six other soldiers were injured in the bomb blast on Tuesday. Next of kin have been informed.
The attack was on a Mastiff vehicle, deemed one of the safest. David Cameron said he would consider "carefully" how the deaths had occurred.
It is the first time British soldiers in a Mastiff vehicle, which was introduced in 2007, have been killed by a roadside bomb, the MoD said.
My nephew - my sister's boy - was injured in this incident. A real person - someone I have known since the day he was born - someone I care about. He is badly hurt, but, we have been told he will recover.
Three real families have been told different news. Three mothers will never again have lunch with their sons, an unborn baby will never know his Daddy's arms, three families will wait only one more time at an airport. This is so real - not another news story that I can shake my head sadly at, and get on with my day.
Time stopped - all merged together as we waited for news of how badly injured he was - where he was being treated - what was happening - speculating on every possible outcome. It was as if we were in a dark cave, searching for a tiny chink of light - something - anything -to reassure us that it would be OK. And, it will be.
Three worlds were shattered on this May morning, in ways I cannot begin to imagine. Ours? Well - it shifted on it axis a bit - moved out of focus, slightly - but we will huddle together for a while and steady it again. For we still have our loved one here with us - our nephew, cousin, brother, son, friend - and we are so - so very thankful.
My friend and fellow crofter, Sharon Blackie, wrote the most beautiful post, yesterday. One of those timely, yet timeless tales, which spoke directly to my heart, just when I needed it. I do believe that the Master Weaver sees the bigger picture, and, as I type this, I know that, somehow, a new and more beautiful pattern is beginning to form - even now.
Please hold these men and their families in your thoughts and prayers.
I have just had the most fabulous long weekend with some wonderful women friends. What an absolute tonic it was - I never stopped laughing from beginning to end.
We stayed at Kite Hill Yurts - which are located on top of a hill on the edge of Wales - truly stunning.
The Yurts themselves are comfortable and delightful. Kate and Dominic, the owners, really made us feel at home.
The setting is just perfect; the views, the walks, the trees - and even a Welsh rainbow - wonderful.
And there were Alpacas too - and a top bar bee hive! Everything was sustainable - compost loos, solar powered hot shower, drinking water piped from a spring - oooh - I loved it a lot!! Can you tell I liked it?
One of the reasons we went there was to visit Wonderwool Wales - a festival of all things fibre. I didn't really take many photos here, as I was so busy nosing around, but I did have a long chat with the owner of the little Shetland ewe lamb there...I think they would do well on our island too!
After a lovely day of leisurely browsing, a tired but happy band of ladies headed back up the mountain with their new stash,
And very soon hands were busy casting on new projects, or learning to knit for the first time!
We had a day out in nearby Hay-on-Wye, the most amazing town - full of bookshops! Booths was my favourite - exactly what a bookshop should be - with a fantastic cafe, too. These were without doubt, the best chips I have ever had - dipped in their homemade äioli - a dreamy combination.
But time stops for no one - and all too soon I was sitting in the airport, waiting, with my new knitting, of course.
Lots of love to all the Yurt ladies, Denise, Dawn, Theresa, Gill, Lou, Kim and Lucy - and to Katie, Dominic and their sweet, sweet baby - thank you all - for an unforgettable weekend.
There is always plenty going on in this croft kitchen - certainly always washing up, but - we do appreciate our food here.
. It's not always home cooking though. We have the most amazing food shops on the island, so it is nice to have some time out and feast on fantastic locally made produce.
And this is seriously the best iced cream ever.
And we take our ice cream very seriously.
There has been pie!
Really loving this book by Ashley English, and I think, going by the results so far, we will certainly be celebrating a year of pies here.
It is foraging time again - and that means more of this and this
and to explore other possibilities - ohyes!
Tallow has been rendered for cooking and other projects, and beet kvass has been made. I'm not sure how this is supposed to taste - this is a bit salty, but pleasantly so - and improving by the day!
I concoted a recipe for applesauce muffins, which were a huge hit, but I've forgotten what I did! It was a basic muffin recipe using melted butter, not oil, and I layered the apple sauce in the middle of the mixture, so we would all get a good mouthful of the cinnamon spiced apple.
Yes - it is one of my favourite places, this kitchen of mine. Good food, a nice chilled glass of something while prepping dinner, and some lively tunes to dance around to. Och, come on - lets have a wee ceilidh!
It's been a difficult week. Not for me, particularly. Indeed there has been the usual mix here of work, play, crafts and cakes - those ordinary yet extraordinary moments that make up our days. But... today they seem irrelevant - indulgent even.
In recent weeks, on the Islands, we have been no strangers to untimely tragic deaths. And, from all corners of the world, in the last few days, comes news of so many lives lost. Cut short, in a sudden and terrible way.
I have no answers - no words for this.
I can only remind myself of what is good and beautiful in the world- and be grateful.
To send love and light out over the endless seas
To remember that these rocks have endured on this Earth for 3 billion years - and to know my place