‘There comes a time when time is not enough:
a hand takes hold or a hand lets go; cells swarm,
cease; high and cryless a white bird blazes beyond
itself, to be itself, burning unconsumed.’
Friday 5 – Tuesday 9 May
2007 Tel Aviv, Israel: 30 November Jerusalem, by Service Taxi;
the ‘Church of the Holy Sepulchre,’ also called the ‘Church of the Anastasis’ by Orthodox Christians, which according to tradition contains the two holiest sites in Christianity: Calvary – the site of Jesus of Nazareth’s crucifixion – and the empty tomb that is believed to have once held his body before the resurrection;
the ‘Franciscan Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene,’ where Mary met Jesus after his resurrection; here, I prayed, proxy for my mother who was in Inverness, Scotland. ‘And the grey cherry tree turning in its wash of rain| tonight I shall ask it in| the feast of leaves turning a quiet song …’
the Armenian Orthodox Patriarchate road, running the length of the ‘Couvent Armenien St. Jacques.’ As I walked along the street in bright sunshine – looking for a Service Taxi – a marble fell to the pavement from one of the windows of the convent and rolled to a stop between stones in front of me;
2017 Mallaig, Scotland; 6 April Tarbet, by mountain bike;
the ride is along one side of Loch Morar to the hamlet of Tarbet where a small ferry boat will take you back to Mallaig;
I often think of my mother when I see a white-haired old lady; when she is walking a dog, and always, if the dog is a black labrador. And so it was on this occasion at Inverie when the boat pulled in to pick up day-trippers to Knoydart;
I was inside the cabin when she and her husband sat down next to me. Her husband fell asleep almost immediately – the repetitive throbs of the engine, the rhythmic rise and fall of the waves, and the animal warmth of the cabin taking its toll. I wanted to say to her how warm and cosy her woollen gloves looked, and what a nice colour they were; gloves that were too big for her gentle and soft hands; gloves that she held on her knee crossed throughout the journey, but I couldn’t, I couldn’t find the words, couldn’t speak out loud;
in my guide pack along with an emergency shelter, SPOT beacon, first aid kit, bike repair tools, inner tubes, maps, waterproofs, spare and emergency clothing, food, water, more spare clothing, that is, along with all twelve kilo’s of the stuff I have to carry, I also, always, carry a glass marble – the glass marble – in a small tartan bag.
250g chopped dates / 175g chopped pecan nuts / 75g brown sugar / 50g plain flour (or gf substitute) / 50g porridge oats (or gf substitute) / 80ml of strong olive oil / 1tsp mixed spice / 1tsp vanilla extract / 2 lg eggs
Mix all of the ingredients together in a large bowl and turn out onto baking paper in a ceramic dish and bake in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees for 30 minutes.
The ingredients above are a basic mix. I frequently change it about —add honey, sunflower seeds, linseeds, walnuts as well as or instead of pecans, mixed fruit instead of the dates. Enjoy.
With lines from poems by Federico García Lorca
The field / of olive trees / opens and closes / like a fan. / Above the olive grove / a foundering sky / and a dark rain / of cold stars.
Past the olive groves
The terraces turned rose
Only a single bird / is singing. / The air is cloning it. / We hear through mirrors.
And in a small church, floral decorations made of marzipan
Glowed in sweet clamour
Through the mist on the panes / all the children / watch a yellow tree / change into birds.
It is cold and strange and flattened up here
The mountains gaze / at a distant spot.
The grass is almost white, bleached by drought
(It reminds me of nothing) distant
Villages are cauterised to the earth
Where the sky is waiting
For news of a dream
The air / pregnant with rainbows / shatters its mirrors / over the grove.
As we climb the mountain sweats
Untarnished by time
The labyrinths / that time creates / vanish. / (Only the desert / remains.) / The heart / fountain of desire / vanishes. / (Only the desert / remains.) / The illusion of dawn / and kisses / vanish. / Only the desert / remains. / Undulating / desert.
Almond blossom is the colour of my brain
(White rose with flecks of blood and dream) the heart
Trembles in the penumbra when every muscle works
To understand season on season of toil; a woman sleeps
As my heart is, / so you are, / my mirror. / Garden where my love / is waiting.
Dreaming of her husband and child before it is too late
Fennel, serpent, and rushes. / Aroma, trail, and half-shadow. / Air, earth, and apartness. / (The ladder stretches to the moon)
And she is awakened by the stillness of her wheel.
The film can be viewed here: http://www.mountainbikeworldwide.com/bike-tours/spain