Gardening Tools


‘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

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Talisman

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.