A further update

Terri Windling and Tilly Windling-Gayton, Dartmoor, 2021

I'm having a bit of Long Covid flare-up. No surprise, really. It happens less regularly now than a year ago, but still flares up if I get over-tired...and this last week has been a doozy, between Tilly's emergency vet visits and getting Howard packed up and off on pilgrimage. 

Now Howard's on the road, Tilly is doing better, and my body seems to be insisting that I take some time to take care of myself. I'll be back to Myth & Moor soon, with those final "water book" recommendations and more.

Illustration by Walter Crane

Leon Tolstoy once wrote: ''A quiet secluded life in the country, with the possibility of being useful to people to whom it is easy to do good, and who are not accustomed to have it done to them; then work which one hopes may be of some use; then rest, nature, books, music, love for one's neighbor - such is my idea of happiness.'' 

Mine too.


Myth & Moor update

Ocean 1

My apologies that there is no Myth & Moor post today. Tilly had an emergency vet visit this morning (don't worry, she's okay now), and the rest of the day was taken up by last-minute packing in order to get Howard off to London tomorrow.

In London, Howard joins his fellow pilgrims for The Pilgrimage for Nature, and they begin their eight-week walk to Glasgow, where they'll be presenting a performance (created during the walk, weaving in the voices and concerns of those met along the way) to the delegates at the UN Climate Change Conference in early November. He's just about ready to go now, but boy-oh-boy it's been a busy day, full of unforeseen challenges.

Ocean 2

Ocean 3

Photographs above: Tilly and me on the beach near Teignmouth on Wednesday. She loved it, and so did I. Oh, to be in the sea again! We've been too long away.


Down to the sea

Summer 2019

Today I'm following our own local river, the Teign, down to the sea at Teignmouth: not by foot, or canoe, or anything adventurous as that but by catching a ride with Howard's mum. We want to catch the last day of Howard's Punch & Judy performance season...and then to walk on the beach and give Tilly a swim before we head home.

I didn't see any of Howard's Punch shows last summer (the picture above was taken the summer before) and haven't been to the ocean since the pandemic began. The particular health issue I deal with is one that renders vaccination less than optimally effective, and I must still be wary in public spaces -- but it's the end of the summer and the crowds have thinned substantially so I'm grabbing my chance. I can't wait for the sight of the sea, and to hear Mr. Punch boasting: "That's the way to do it!"


Drifting away in the current

From Peter Pan in Kensington Garden illustrated by Arthur Rackham

I've been called away from the studio this morning, so I'm afraid there will be no post today. I'll be back tomorrow, bright and early, with more stories and books around the theme of water.  

"Water does not resist. Water flows. When you plunge your hand into it, all you feel is a caress. Water is not a solid wall, it will not stop you. But water always goes where it wants to go, and nothing in the end can stand against it. Water is patient. Dripping water wears away a stone. Remember that, my child. Remember you are half water. If you can't go through an obstacle, go around it. Water does."

- Margaret Atwood (The Penelopiad)

The art above is by Arthur Rackham, from his classic illustrations for J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens.


I'm away with the fairies this week...

Arthur Rackham

Actually I'm away at a long-delayed-by-the-pandemic family gathering. I'll be back next week, and Myth & Moor will resume with a post on Monday, August 17th.

Tilly, meanwhile, is doing well. We're still waiting on one lab result, but the others have been encouraging. The hair on her tummy (where it was shaved for tests) is starting to grow in and she continues to be a little trooper. Alas, I'm the one under the weather now, but we're hoping this gentle week with family will bring my strength back too.

Arthur Rackham

In lieu of this week's posts, here's a bit of recommended reading gathered from hither and yon:

~Hope.docx by Sabrina Orah Mark, from her brilliant fairy tale column, Happily (Paris Review)

Pippi and the Moomins, as an antidote to fascism, by Richard W. Orange (Aeon)

Can Reading Make You Happier?, an essay on bibliotherapy by Ceridwen Dovey (The New Yorker)

Typos, tricks and misprints, an essay on the weirdness of English spelling by linguist Arika Okrent (Aeon)

True to Nature, nature authors on the children's books that inspired them, by Melissa Harrison (The Guardian)

Animal Agents by Amanda Rees (Aeon)

The Joy of Being Animal by Melanie Challenger (Aeon)

What the Animal World Can Teach Us About Human Nature, a conversation between Carl Safina and Nick McDonell (Literary Hub)

Six Questions for Charlotee McConaghy, author of Once There Were Wolves (Orion)

Plants Feel Pain and Might Even See, an excerpt from Peter Wohlleben's new book The Heartbeat of Trees (Nautilus)

An interview with Robin Wall Kimmerer, author of Braiding Sweetgrass (The Guardian)

Laurie Lee's Loving Letters to a Secret Daughter by Vanessa Thorpe (The Guardian)

His Fair Lady, a fascinating piece on George Bernard Shaw's wife by Donna Ferguson (The Guardian)

The Wyrd Ones, in which Robert Macfarlane and Johnny Flynn discuss their collaborative album Lost in the Cedar Wood, inspired by The Epic of Gilgamesh (Literary Hub)

Fairies by Arthur Rackham

And to listen to:

Robert Macfarlane on Desert Island Disks (BBC Radio 4)

Kyle Whyte and Jay Griffiths in conversation, discussing indigenous cultures and climate change (Literary Hub)

Jeff VanderMeer and Lili Taylor in conversation, on books, birds, and beauty (Literary Hub)

An interview with Melissa Febos, author of the devastating new essay collection Girlhood (Literary Hub)

Katherine Langerish at the Glasgow Centre for Fantasy and the Fantastic, discussing her fine new book on C.S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia   

Honouring the Ancestors, an episode in the "Wise Women: The Vicar and the Witch" podcast (the witch here being my friend and Dartmoor neighbour Suzi Crockford)

An interview with Hedgespoken's Tom Hirons (another good Dartmoor friend), Episode 16 on Sharon Blackie's podcast This Mythic Life

Arthur Rackham

The classic fairy paintings above are by Arthur Rackham (1867-1939).