A Journey With Blackbirdowl

Sunday, May 08, 2016

Rapturous May morn

Rapturous May morn
Sunday may 1, 2016
It's 4:30. The loudest blackbird ever is singing his head off in a tall tree
in Savernake Road. I am silly with rapture, nay, I confess I might be a
little in love with that blackbird. The sun is not yet shining, but the
clear dark sky promises that it will do so, in time. Hey so why not sing
We gather quietly, spring flowers clutched in cold hands, the 'Oss, the only
creature warm at this moment skitters from foot to foot happily and nods its
We puff dragon-breath as we walk up the hill. All around us a teaming
Corus of birds, fills the sky. It's a merry piping, a dazzle of sound; each
song distinct, each claiming their own tune and rhythm as they sing joyfully
to drive away the fast retreating night.
Dark trees stand in silhouette against a high domed deep blue sky. A bronze
sickle moon sinking deep into the west faces the reddening east. Beneath
this, the mist on the lake curls lazily upwards.
We move across the heath, climbing steadily to kite hill. The twinkling red
lights on the tall buildings of London are spread out below. The western
tall buildings glow, the first to catch the rising sun in their shining
glass faces.
The birds build an ever crescendoing fanfare of song. In and out dart
blackbird, thrush, robin, wren, tits and crows. Pigeon's lazy coo is soon
to join, but the invader paraqueets are still abed. We breathe the cold
thin air and marvel at the clarity all around, as the light grows.
After a song or two, we move across the heath, stepping over brooks,
clambering between trees and logs. The ground is drier than it might have
been had it not stopped raining a few days ago. Contented mallards quietly
quack to each other as I climb over a ditch, the tree trunks rocking with my
We stand below Boudicca's Mount, facing the sunrise. Our view to the sun is
obscured by the bulk of another hill to the east of us. It is as though
someone turns up the dimmer switch, the tall buildings in the west glow ever
more brightly as the sun climbs further above the horizon, till first the
tree tops then their trunks, are gilded with its promise of morning.
The sky, now split by a high silver vapour trail from an unheard airplane,
lightens as the earth turns. The red of the east now becomes orange then
gold, the sky azuring as the morning begins to blaze.
At last, the sun reaches round the hill; its long golden beam touches my
legs tentatively, then more warmly as it grows stronger. Gradually it
begins to temper the chill left by the bitter north wind. Something wakes
inside me and, like the blackbird; I throw back my head and sing.
"Sun is shining.
I'm so sexy!!
This is my tree".
I roar it raunchily; cheekily infectiously. We all bellow it out. The joy of
life smacks me in the chest. My face splits in an enormous grin and I jump
up and down.
"We are the rising sun.
We are the change.
We are the ones we are waiting for,
and we are dawning."

Now for the walk through the woods in the sunrise. We step carefully
downhill, making our way rather circuitously across towards the Kenwood
Spring. Some great metal monster has ripped a series of huge rents in the
heath. These are the new flood defence works.
The tears are festooned with still living trees and bushes, all in various
states of spring preparedness, from the new green curling leaves of the oaks
to the frothy white of the may on the hawthorn. In the steep banks the
patches of grass, amongst the mud and the tumbling stones tossed carelessly
across the way by the earth-moving equipment, white, blue and yellow flowers
flutter in the bitter little wind that is the last of the northern weather
front, now retreating against the warming of the earth. The ground beneath
our feet is pitted and stone-strewn. WE make our way carefully, lest we
twist ankles or worse.
The heath is ours today. We've only seen two others. We walk and sing and
smell the heath as it warms up, stopping to admire nature in all her spring
Turning to look back on the way we have come, someone spies a white figure
in the distance. They say it looks like an angel with a brief case! It
turns out to be a late comer to our journey today, wearing a white nightie
she won in a Witch camp raffle.
Kenwood Spring is still shaded by tall trees. They do not offer us shelter
from the bitter wind. The spring splashes and gurgles. it's warm and
rusty-tasting, slightly thick. I wonder at the taste and whether it is the
spring itself or the pipes in which it is brought to us.
We are early. It being a Sunday the cafe is not open till 8. We have time to
dawdle and admire, breathe in the beauty of the morning as we make our way
slowly back.
The sun is out fully now. We walk back into its full glare. The paraqueets
have woken. Their piercing squawks dominate the birdsong.
Back at Boudicca's mound, the benches are in full sunshine. We sit down to
bask, rest and wait, after all, the cafe won't be open for 45 minutes. It's
so warm.
I raise my face to the sun and relax. My limbs are pleasantly tired; my
body zinging from the exercise. How nice it would be to wrap myself in a
blanket and go to sleep.
My companions remember its breakfast time. Reluctantly I get up. Though we
are hungry, our progress is less than purposeful. We stop to group-hug a
very large oak.
The streets are deserted. Our cafe already has a table of 8 breakfasting
police officers! We settle down to feast.
Warm now, I suddenly find myself thinking of my mother. I wonder how she
might discourse on the refraction of the rising sun on tall buildings, the
structure of the throat of a little blackbird that makes it sing so loud,
the science behind that vapour trail so high up in the sky, why the moon is
bronze when she is old and just before the sun rises. But she's not here to
ask. So I'll just have to imagine.

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Blue Bell Burial

Blue Bell Burial
Hastings Green Burial Ground
Friday April 29, 2016
Last time we were here, it was late January 2007. Snow in January is usual,
falling as it did that year, between my father's death and his funeral. The
ground still coldly soaked, but the earth firm enough.
Now there is no sign of where he is buried. The woods have grown up around
and across the graves. This time the two family dogs are absent, both being
long dead. Today promises to be a much better behaved affair.
The woodland is carpeted with blue bells, so I am told. The trees, some
mature, some young, encircle us protectively; their feet covered in flowers
and nettles. The soft grey sky is high. There is no sun, but there is no
threat of rain either.
A solo violin drifts across as we reach and take the handles of the coffin.
Slowly, carefully, we begin to move forward, gently shuffling through the
nettles. We place her on the planks across the grave. Netting is looped
into the handles.

I prepare to put my back into the task of lifting the coffin, engaging my
core muscles, as taught. We lift. She is light when all four children take
her weight, as we once were when she lifted us for the first time into her
There's a science to how we manoeuvre the coffin on the boards over the
grave. We slip the long mesh strips into the handles, and loop them under
the coffin. Lifting and lowering her gently down into the grave is done
without mishap. We do all this. No one falls in and no one drops her.

Russian words join the violin as we sing The Volga Boat Song. I'm not sure
why this song is chosen, other than because it was a presence in our
childhood, especially sung by Paul Robeson, whose communism and human rights
activism, mum admired. Anything Russian, interested her anyway, so why not.
And mercifully it's easy.
Circling together, we gather to celebrate her life, on this soft rich earth,
carpeted with bluebells, their fragrance drifting to us on the wind. I
breathe in the scent of new leaf and crushed baby nettles. This bitter-sweet
tang is edged with salt and seaweed, from the sea beyond the high cliff and
shielding trees. The soft richness of new turned earth offers calm solidity
beneath the inconsequential intangibility of a grey sky and brisk little
One by one we children tell our stories of her. One by one, the friends,
neighbours and colleagues speak their experiences of all she was. Together
we paint a picture so typically her, yet interwoven with things that were
surprises. Amusingly, animatedly, affectionately, we honour who she was to
The violin tenderly nudges the tune of "Moscow Nights"; the guitar adds it
sustaining rhythm. A man's mellifluous voice joins the dance of music as we
hum and sing along. The soft rich Russian words, though incomprehensible to
many, speak eloquently of beauty. I smile to remember the somewhat more
prosaic version rendered by mum, when she was at her happiest. Not this well
turned performance but an enthusiastic rout!

The little red flags are small for our fingers. Nevertheless, we wave them
aloft and sing "The Red Flag" with gusto. I love the words:
"It well recalls the triumphs past,
and brings the hope of peace at last,
the banner bright, the symbol plain,
of human right and human gain."
Human rights, equality, socialism, fairness and the preserving of the
world's resources, the things that mattered most to mum. We honour these as
we offer her physical remains to the earth, as we toss the brave little
flags into the grave. She is given up to the worms and all other organisms
that will play a part in the breaking down of her tissues.
The grave diggers, who have been skulking in the trees, begin to emerge, as
we turn away. High in the sky, a pigeon sings; There is comfort in its
"Droo-droo-droo, droo-droo". Like a lullaby, it sooths and eases. We can
leave her now so we do; walking from the shelter of the little gentle
woodland, past the regimented ranks of the organised dead in the other
cemetery and the fierce coastal wind beyond, for it is time for tea and

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Rockabye Cedar tree

Rockabye Cedar tree
Saturday April 23, 2016 Kew Gardens
I'm struggling with grief and the change in dynamics in the family due to my
mother's sudden if not unexpected death. After all, when you get to 89, and
you are in frail health death is a more likely outcome than not, when you've
been fighting infections for 3 months.
Deeply bothered by the shift in power in the family, and how that makes me
feel, I seek steadiness and protection with the trees. To be truthful, I'm
not up to the mark today. I'm filled with snot; I have a cold. I seem to
have lost control of my body thermostat. Still, I need the trees, so I am
I've been here before, I know this, I think as we walk amongst the great
trees. A dim memory of a rain-soaked grief filled day, 6 weeks after my
father's death in 2007, a previous visit to a big tree here in Kew Gardens,
and the comfort it offered, tightens my chest as my companion and I walk
across the soft wide lawn. Indeed, I have been here before. I am now an
It's not quite a pine grove, more a companionable gathering of tree friends.
They rise hugely into the sky, yet spread out sturdy limbs close to the
ground, as though staking their place. Around them, the litter of previous
year's cones twigs and leaves, carpet the ground.
Is this the Cedar tree I found last time? I'm not sure, though it calls me
to it. I walk round it, examine its dimensions, admiring its sturdy limbs
and the places it offers me to rest on. As I walk, I sing the old school
Grace, I rewrote last time I was here. My voice cracked and sore, congested
with cold, falters at first, then more strongly as I find my way, sings
Cedar's round this country fair, tell the story of thy care,
And the trees who watch and wait, are the guardians of our fate.
I find the right place to sit, my back supported by a trunk, the seat wide
and curved and comfortable. We settle down on her limbs and cast the circle.
I call up the protection circle, cast by friends for me earlier this week.
Around the branches, the feather and horn tips swirl. I feel safe.
The tree has limbs growing low, and others growing high. At the end of
these, great frills of long pine needles wave, and the smaller branches like
an earnest conductor, beat time with the wind with a grace both stately and
joyful. My companion and I find tree songs coming into our thoughts. WE sing
these to the tree.
"Trees grow tall in the heart of the forest,
High in the sky and the roots go down,
to the deep dark earth."
"Tall Trees, warm fires, strong winds, deep water,
I feel it in my body and I bring it to the source."
, I breathe into the wood and feel the roots reaching down into the ground.
I am so comfortable. This is a beautiful tree.
My companion describes the green brown bark and the almost navy blue pine
needles. These lie dark against a bright blue sky.
The sun, a shaft of warmth from the west, reaches between the trunks and
tenderly touches my face. I lift my cheek as though to receive a mother's
caress. I am soothed and comforted.
I want to experience this tree's architecture that I cannot see or reach
from where I am. In my mind, I begin to climb the tree.
The branches swoop and bend to help me. Soon I am at the top of one
sky-pointing limb, held by the hard wood, my head cushioned on a frilly
profusion of soft long pine needles.
The branch sways. I embrace it; allow my body to be moved as the wind
demands. From this vantage point, what must the view be like? Does the
whole world stretch out beneath and around me, is it swinging as I swing?
If I could see, would I glimpse other beings, similarly cradled on the other
trees? A nursery of swooping souls perhaps being rockabye-babied. The words
of the nursery rhyme fill my mind.
"Rock-a-bye baby on the tree top.
When the wind blows, the cradle will rock.
When the bough breaks the cradle will fall.
Down will come baby, cradle and all!
As I follow the song to its end, I cling to the branch. I hope it will not
be my fate to "down will come baby, cradle and all", for my mother is no
longer here to gather me up. And with that thought, a wave of grief sweeps
over me. I breathe hard to release it, knuckling my wet eyes like a desolate
I am aware of my companion leaning against a branch near me; still and
resting. She is undisturbed by the sudden frenzied flapping; as a bird
swoops in and out of the high branches overhead. My ears follow its flight.
I hear other scirring wings, as the beings of the sky offer their tender
feathered presence.
This tree holds me as she sways. And yet, though Sitting as I am now, in
the lap of the tree, I feel connected and grounded. Leaning into its
strength I am sure I can feel the whole tree move from its uppermost
branches, right down to the roots. Earth and sky bridged by this tree, seek
to teach me to walk on the earth though I feel so unbalanced without that
steadying presence of my mother.
I remember the protection spell. It reminds me that others love me. This
love is here to help. The air is thick with feathers and horn points. They
eddy and swirl like snow almost, floating slowly down towards the earth,
till being tossed up high again. ,
I can hear the blackbird I first heard as we left the cafe. Loudly it sings,
and in my head, I sing back. As long as I can hear the birds singing,
everything will be alright.
I am safe, I am safe. I could stay forever. But the wind is beginning to
nip. I'm a bit cold.
Sitting on this branch down near the ground, my back to one trunk and my arm
leaning on another, I feel a chill creeping slowly into me. The cold is
doing it's best to stake its claim. People say it's the grief coming out.
Fleetingly, I muse on the illogicality of an additional discomfort to
someone who is weighted down by loss. "Pah to germs, that's what I say," I
We thank the beings and directions, and stretching, I get up and walk
counter clockwise round the tree. The air has cooled, though the sun still
shafts low across the garden. In the distance, the blackbird continues to

Sunday, November 29, 2015

stranger to nature

I'm a stranger to nature. Life is so busy I've no time to stand and
be with the trees.
well all this may change. yes I know it's winter and hanging out with trees
when it's cold can be ... well cold. But I've always said I am a muddy pagan
and don't mind the cold. This is true.
The blackbird Owl is about to sally forth.
Listen up.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Shadow Horn

Shadow horn
Sunday June 28, 2015
I'm not dressed for rain! I hate getting my head wet. I'm skulking in my
light cotton jacket. Selflessly, my companion gives me her baseball hat.

In the steady summer drizzle, we walk through the woods. Though drenching,
it's gently cool. The indomitable blackbird sings his head of. Dog walkers
walk quietly with their panting, scampering charges. We're searching for
somewhere to do some magical work.

Here's the perfect space at the foot of an enormous oak tree. Its branches,
thickly leaved, offer a pretty solid protection from what is steadily
becoming a downpour! Settling at its roots, we cast our circle.

I am in a network of tunnels under the woods. They curve and twist between
the roots of the great trees. I snuffle about, finding my way up between
the roots of the tree. Here, I lie as though snuggled under an earth duvet.

The shadows of branches, or are they antlers, cross my face. Where the pain
is, I feel their dark soothing touch; though shadows cannot be felt.
, Above me, a latticework of dark branches criss-cross the light sky. But
are they branches? They twist and turn like antlers against the brilliance
of a late June day.

To my left, something moves through the holly bushes. Hooves stamp;
breath, heavy but comforting.
What is that? Something shining and white, different from the presence that
feels as though it is gazing down at me. The latticework shifts and sways;
the rain falls heavy from the leaden sky.,

A man talks loudly on his mobile, while his dog crashes through the
undergrowth. My companion stands up and moves between the holly bushes and
the oak tree. She's snorting like a horse, I think. Is that in response to
the man on the mobile, or something else?
As though my skin is a transparent mask, and I looking out into the world
through it, I see the latticework of antler shadows, mimicking the shape of
the trigeminal nerve. The shadow lies down over my face as though to
shelter me. Where I am conscious of its dark touch, I have no pain.
My heart is filled with love. The shadow caress, though only the place where
light is not, is gentle, loving. The rain slicks my warm skin. I have no
pain. I have no pain.
Relief dances with joy. This is all I need, the shadow of the horned one and
my beloved trees. As though charting a map, millimetre by millimetre, skin
cell by skin cell, trigeminal nerve, knotted like sizle string, (I like to
think,) is green with the coolness of the shadow touch. Remember this;
remember this , I tell myself.
Leaving the shelter of our tree is hard. I get up and lean against it's
strong solid reassurance. The rain-wet perfume of the wood dances on the
breeze,bows curteously to the smell of damp bark, and the odour of last
year's leaf-mould. Beautiful wet summer wood smell, consciously I comit it
to memory too. For ever it will be associated with pain releif.
I want to sing. I don't have a song. Oh but the tre is singing a growly
song, like trees always do. I've no idea of the words but it's low ponderous
rasping, as though coming from deep in the bowels of the earth, is like a
rough hand caressing my cheek.
I have no pain!As I notice this, I know I am being cared for.
Bowing to the tree, the presence moving between the holly bushes, we return
to walk through the rain to the cafe.

Dark Moon Despair

Dark Moon Despair
Sunday May 17, 2015.
I water the garden and sit by the caster oil tree, observing the dark moon.
My thoughts. Well I try to think of all the things the Tories can do to us,
so I can face the fear. My mind won't go there. I give the emptiness of my
mind refusing to acknowledge it, to the dark space before the moon comes.
All is quiet. Somewhere on the Parkland Walk a couple of people talk
softly. I hear occasional doors opening, snatches of telly and
conversations. I am surprised at how many planes pass. Still I am
comfortable and quiet in this safe garden.

The chant goes through my head. I sway and rattle as it sings inside me.
"what serves life shall stand. What does not will fall. The power is in
our hands. Love changes all.

I've got to believe it. I've got to find a way of responding to the
terrible threat. I'm still in disbelief. Maybe this disbelief can be my
respite, where my mind is empty. Just resting just now.

When the moon comes, I will call her energy into me to make new beginnings,
new responses, new ways forward, fighting, creating, standing up and being

The temperature has dropped. Closing my circle, I return to the house,
where I find and light a lantern, taking it back out into the cool dark
quiet garden.
After some indecision, I settle it under the hawthorn tree. It's heat is
comforting. Let it light my way in the darkness.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

A peachy May morn

A peachy May Morn:
Hampstead 2015.
Standing on the heath edge, I am reminded of the round world, with it's
undulations, it's firm crust, velveted by vegetation, lush with new growth.
The trees, darker against the rapidly lightening air, host already
cheerfully singing birds, the blackbird, loud and strident, dominates them
all. As though the heath is breathing, puffs of cold air remind us that the
earth is still warming up after winter.

We stride up the paths to Parliament Hill. Sunrise is still half an hour
away. My companions describe the fan of peach light, emerging from a
striped grey sky which seems to frame the towers of the city stretching
below. STANDING on top of Parliament Hill, I throw back my head, open up my
lungs, and sing the evocation to the blackbird at sunrise. Lost in the act,
I belt it out for all it's worth, knowing that noone will complain!

My heart shifts. I am held by a sudden sense of joy and a gladness to be
alive, which has not always been with me, these last months of struggle with
pain. It's such a sense of relief. The Obby Oss dances, clearly catching
the moment, and so do I.

Cutting across the heathland, we pick our way over treacherous hidden holes,
step over water channels, skirt tuffetty protuberances until, via the wrong
hill, we stand beneath Buddicca's mount. Below us, the sky still peachy
pink in the east, lies the city, glittering. Red lights flicker their
warning a-top the concrete fingers reaching into the sky.

We make our Beltane wishes. The Oss dances with delight.
"Wisdom to the people of the UK in how they vote next week" we agree,
sending the wish forth into the sunrise, "so mote it be!".
Behind the city, beyond the clouds, The sun rises, heralded by an oranging
of light, though invisible beneath the white grey sky. The air warms as
evidence of it's presence.
"Hail the sun; hail the summer!"
There is nothing to do but to sing so uplifting is this moment. Our hymn to
the land cuts through the air. Though the heath seems empty, the geese,
ducks and the garden birds chirrup, tweet and hoot away, as they sing with
us. We sing of the sacred land, as the body of the goddess, who's secrets
reveal the beauty of the natural world.

"Do you know, it's not raining," we tell each other! In fact, the air is
dry; the heathland beneath our feet benignly easy to walk upon.

We set off on our procession across the heath, winding through wooded
areas, leaping small brooks, stepping carefully over treacherous boggy
places. We still have the heath to ourselves. voices entwine and chase
each other in a Round, extolling the beginning of summer, encouraging us to
"make a merry din", , which we do rather tunefully.

Kenwood Spring bubbles in it's white marble surround. I catch the faint
smell of iron, like blood, in the water. A cold wind blows, reminding us
that, though the sun has risen, it has yet to influence the temperature.

We sing and dance round the spring. We vow to never lose our way to the
well of Her memory as the fire of her living flame rises.

There are not enough gloves to go round. Thou it's may, it is still cold as
March in the early morning. I cup my hands round the cup of tea someone has
thoughtfully provided for this chilly moment.

Talking of cold, it's time for breakfast! We turn and retrace our steps.
Over in a nearby tree, the wood pigeons, the lazy-bones of the avion world,
begins to coo. The May is just coming out on southern sheltered hedges.
Small white and yellow flowers dot the heathland. All the trees present
newly unfurled tender leaves, their stretching branches, a safe haven for
the birds.
The city comes to meet us; a howling of sirens, a rumble of heavy rail on
the Gospel Oak to Barking line and the persistent hum of early morning
traffic, reminds us of where we are. Other heath inhabitants seem mainly to
be held in a world of silence as they walk, plugged into their earphones.
Most, ignore our greeting of "Merry May". They turn their eyes away from
the strangeness of our little procession, headed as it is, by a prancing
Obby Oss.

As we leave the heath, I give silent thanks for this place of respite from
the teaming city frenzy, this green heart that is often my refuge from the
burdons and responsibilities of my life.
Hail the May, hail the morn! Hail the summer!"

The Power Is In Our Hands

The power is in our hands
On Friday morning, shortly after it became clear that we were in for a Tory
government whose actions would not be tempered by having to appease a
coalition partner, someone sends me a text containing the following chant:
What serves life will stand.
What does not will fall.
The power is in our hands.
Love changes all.
I don't want to hear this so full of despair am I. I put my head down and
go to work; and when not doing that, I bury myself in novels or crawl into
bed and sleep. I just want the world to go away.
Social media babbles. Outpourings of despair, dance with declarations of
defiance. Behind the recriminations, come calls for unity., All who hold
dear what this new government will attack, rise up and fight back, they say.
And I hear the chant echoing in my head, an earworm calling me to action.
What serves life will stand.
What does not will fall.
The power is in our hands.
Love changes all.
What can I do, I wonder? I turn for solace and inspiration to my magical
practice as a pagan. New Moon is just after sunrise on 18th May. I could
work with dark moon on the evening of the 17th, to let go of this
negativity? I could work with the new moon on the 18th,to invite in action?
Yes, this is what I will do.
Across the UK, as the dark moon becomes the new moon, let us gather together
or work singly to make the transition from dark moon to new moon, from
despair to hope, and take power into our hands.
Please share this as you will. Blessed Be
Blackbird Owl.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

T Holding The Rose

T Holding the rose
Friday June 21, 2013
On the evening of the longest day, we walk slowly on the curving earth
across the heath. Just below Boudicca's mount, we come to a stop on a
grassy slope overlooking the city.
Dusk is damply imminent. A miasma of nipping gnats thickens the air.
Casually, we cast and invoke. The circle is lightly held but sufficient.
"This is the time of the rose, blossom and thorn, fragrance and blood. Now,
in this longest day, light triumphs, and yet begins the decline into dark."
- Starhawk.

I touch a rose, softly examining its sensual petals, breathe in its
sweetness and think about what it promises. The rose is love; it's also
trusting in its delicate fragility. I think of the blossom and thorn,
fragrance and blood, about the coming darkness and what it is that I fear.
I think of what I would let go of. Summer has flirted with us so far. I
would let go the coldness of the non-spring and the fear in my heart about
the Schwannoma.

Scooping my hand into a bowl, I pick up some rose petals. They shiver and
tremble, almost dancing in my cupped hand. A bigger gust of wind and they
would be gone.
If only my fears could be so easily dislodged? I open my hand and allow the
evening breeze to take my fears along with the petals. They flutter like
butterflies between my fingers and slip away.
I imagine each petal tossed lightly into the wind, drifting eventually down
to the ground. There it will lie until the next breath of wind, curious dog
or walker's shoe dislodges it. Maybe it will remain on the ground until the
rain comes to break down it's fragile silkiness and return it to the earth.
Empty-handed, I return my fears to the earth to be transformed.
Self-affirmation through mirror-work doesn't do it for me. I'm glad I
brought my drum. I sing into it. It throws my voice back clear to me. I am
goddess and she is singing my praises!
The circle chants and tones my name. They chant that I am shining, am
beautiful. I hear their song. I allow those thoughts into my heart and
;lifting my face to the sound, begin to feel the shift.
We dance a spiral dance on the green moist grass, trampling the rose petals
into the ground to send them on their transformational way.
Night has fallen. The city sounds are swallowed by the darkness. Our
working complete, we walk through the cool, damp night on the heath to the
warm rumbling buses running along the bright streets.

S Hooved ones and the blackbirds of Hamstead

S Hooved ones and the blackbirds of Hamstead
Wednesday May 1, 2013:
The silent streets slide by as the car weaves its way through the still
sleeping City. On each corner, a blackbird greets us as we pass.
I stride across the hill glad of my thermal hat, padded gillet and thick
socks. It's mayday but its freezing.

The pre dawn air is quiet, and mist-filled. My risks bound with jangling
bells, I compete with the blackbirds, wrens and robins, giving it some welly
as we quietly invade their green space. The sound is glorious.

Lifting my face to the swell of song, , I invite in the vibrations to travel
down the trigeminal nerve to the base, to heal the Schwannoma. With my
ears, I drink in the beauty of the songbird's morning symphony. The
blackbirds sing louder in triumph of the coming light. The crows mock and
jeer reminding that the night will come again and the wheel will turn.

Beside the Obby Oss, another hoofed creature moves, and as a song comes into
my head, I know the white horse goddess I often meet here, has come to walk
with us. She is quiet though, keeping her distance. I can't help it; I
call to her, whinnying joyfully. I'm sure she sings back. I invite the
sound down my trigeminal nerve.

The heath is tuffety and lumpy. We stride across to a pine grove, a greenly
magical space and sing it some songs. My companion has a fabulous memory
for songs. She even remembers my blackbird Beltane song. We sing
cheerfully, enjoying the duet with the birds.
"Encircled by the blackbird's song,
the golden sun begins to shine.
Beneath the mist, the flower strewn heath sings,
'summer is a Common' IN'"

Frailty has come upon us. We are feeling our years. Defeated by the fence
enclosing Boudicca's mound, we stand on the grass with the quiet mist-veiled
city lying below us, and call to the sun, sing to the birds, the land and
each other. A small breeze nips at me. The May is not yet out but the
blackthorn is blossoming. It may be May Day but it feels like late March.

To warm ourselves up, we yomp across the heath, over two brooks, through
woods, past venerable oaks, their branches pointing like jagged fingers,
hard against the softness of new leaf, stark against the light sky. I know
the horned one watches even as I hear the creak of branches in the wind.

I place my feet on the ground in honour of her beauty. I feel I walk on her
outstretched palm. I know I will never fall off and she will keep me safe,
no matter how dizzy I grow.

The Kenwood Spring is in fine voice. Bubbling and cheerful, its water is
comfortingly warm, considering the chill of the day. I splash it on my face
and smell and taste its strong iron metallic tang.

We sing to the well, gaining momentum and spinning energy into the soft
morning light. The mist seems to descend and thicken. Only the heat of the
sun will dismiss this. It is not here yet, hiding behind the implacable grey

Turning, we head for breakfast. But the Oss has another idea. Strangers
are greeted and invited to make a wish. They do, opening up their hearts
and speaking about what is uppermost in their minds. This is important work
and I don't mind delaying my breakfast to do it; but my stomach growls in
protest. No matter, this is the sharing of the magic of the day.

Stepping from the heath, the world comes to greet us, noisily, aloofly,
suspiciously. Passers-by are puzzled at the strange procession cheerfully
greeting strangers with cries of "Merry May! They put their heads down and
shuffle off to work hoping we won't notice them perhaps?

It's a bit of a dislocate, this extended walk through the streets, for
today, we have taken a slightly different route back. Still, I trudge
along, beckoned by the promise of hot breakfast, gradually allowing the
world to return, trying to filter its loud, dirty insistence with the clean
greenness of my dawn walk on the heath. The "in-your-faceness" of London
life, is slightly tempered, by the memory but still insistently present.