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).

Another Tilly update

A brave little soul

After a long day at the vet's surgery, we have the most important results back: Tilly definitely doesn't have cancer. Whew! You could probably hear my sigh of relief on the other side of the Atlantic. We're waiting on further lab results before we know for certain what's been causing her continuing problems, but if her vet's best guess is right (and it probably is), there should be a way to manage this, we just haven't got the medicine regime quite right yet. She's got a shaved stomach to show for her difficult day, but she was brave and calm throughout, and is very glad to be home now.

A Blessing by Jeanie TomanekSome of you kind folk have asked if it's possible to contribute to Tilly's medical care, and yes it is: studio angels Lunar Hine and Ellen Kushner have helped to organise a Tilly Fund, as her costs are high and on-going, and every little bit helps. Check out the latest Bumblehill Studio newsletter for more information. (Y'all know there's a studio newsletter, right? It's a weekly email, beautifully complied and curated by Lunar.)

My family and I are deeply grateful to those sweet souls who have contributed to the Tilly Fund...and to all who have sent kind words and prayers. It's incredibly moving to know that Tilly has so many friends, and has touched so many hearts. I also want to say: it seems we're often fund-raising around here for one art project or another, and now even the dog! But please don't worry if you can't contribute financially to any of these things; just being part of this community is a gift. Thank you for being here, making and/or supporting mythic art in all the ways you do.

Bedtime Story by Jeanie Tomanek

The luminous paintings above are "A Blessing" and "Bedtime Story" by Jeanie Tomanek

Myth & Moor (and Tilly) update

Tilly in the beechwood

No post again today, I'm afraid. We're not out of the woods with Tilly yet, so we're off to the bigger veterinary centre in Okehampton this morning, where she'll have a scan and further tests at the vets' surgery. Please think good thoughts for our dear girl. This isn't going to be very comfortable for her, but it needs to be done, and we're still hoping for the best.

Beechwood 2

She's been a bit up and down the last few days, but mostly up, with more strength than earlier this month. Here she is in the beechwood at the top of our hill, one of her favourite places, full of bottle-green light and soft moss magic. 

Beechwood 4

Beechwood 5

The poem in the picture captions is from The Illuminated Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks (Broadway Books, 1997). All rights reserved.