Messages….. From ‘Emergence’ Magazine….Underland….

by Bernie Bell - 07:33 on 27 February 2023


I’ll never see this  - can’t travel far these days – but it will be there – that’s the thing…


My bits & pieces along those lines….



For some reason, this one isn’t included in the list…


And, in this blog post…. http://www.spanglefish.com/berniesblog/blog.asp?blogid=15911 , I wrote….

“Crawick Multiverse….

We watched a recorded episode of ‘Ian Robertson Rambles’  in which, while walking in Dumfries & Galloway, Ian visited Crawick Multiverse – not verse as in poetic verse – though the place is a form of poetry – verse as in many Universes – constellations, galaxies and the Milky Way are laid out across the land….. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Koo0rRZwf6c

Ian tells us that when this open-cast coal mine became defunct, the Duke of Buccleuch commissioned Robert Jencks to plan and produce the landscape – it’s a wonder.  I’d love to go there -  doubt if I will be able to -  doubt if I’ll go off-island again but – Ian Robertson takes us to these places,  even those of us who aren’t likely to go there in ‘reality’.

And – these places exist – that’s what matters.  It’s one of the rare occasions  when I can see some point in the aristocracy -  when someone like the Duke of Buccleuch has the imagination, inspiration and interest in the common weal to use his land ownership and wealth to commission someone who also has imagination and inspiration - to produce such a place.

Looking at the plan – many echoes of ancient sites – stone rows & circles….. https://www.crawickmultiverse.co.uk/ .  What might  people make of this in 5,000 year’s time?  If we’re still here…..”

Annnndddd…  https://theorkneynews.scot/2018/04/16/of-ponds-otters-planets/

There are many ‘messages’ in the landscape – just look about you.

And when this work is completed, there will be another one. 

Cup & Rings – holding the ocean – from which came life.

Then there's the Kilmartin Stone, carved by Martin Murphy and placed near the Kilmartin kirkyard in 2005.  Martin Murphy has written about the ideas which inspired him, and the meanings he saw in his carvings…….


Now, imagine if that stone, and it's plinth, were covered over for 5,000 years, then re-discovered.  What would folk make of it?  Yet it's clear enough when you look at it now - fish, spawning, add water to the cup mark, and the spawn become little fishes swimming out along the channel at the base, into the earth.  Fecundity.  We visited Kilmartin Glen in late April/early May, and it was bursting with life, with new life, new growth everywhere we went. 

As Martin Murphy has carved on the side of his stone……"Let Life Live."

Please, let’s let life live.


From ‘Emergence’ Magazine….

The Fallout
Voices from Ukraine

by Anna Badkhen et al.


“The green backbones of our forests, the strong teeth of our mountains, the supple bodies of our rivers and seas, the skin of our steppes, tender like feathergrass, the elusive breath of our air—they are all sullied, befouled, and poisoned by war.” —Iya Kiva

One year on since Russia invaded Ukraine and the war shows no signs of abating. After months of entrenched fighting, both sides are soon expected to launch fresh offensives in a conflict that has already killed hundreds of thousands of people, displaced millions from their homes, and inflicted suffering that is impossible to quantify. 

The war’s impact on Ukraine’s more-than-human life is just as unfathomable and long-lasting. As chemicals from munitions explosions seep indiscriminately into the ecosystem, rare landscapes are also under threat: Russia has, over the course of the war, occupied two biosphere reserves, eight nature reserves, seventeen national parks, and more than nine hundred natural monuments. This month, it was reported that Russian forces are draining Kakhovka Reservoir in southeastern Ukraine at an alarming rate—an act that endangers drinking water supplies, agricultural irrigation, and the cooling system of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant.

To bear witness to the destruction being wrought on Ukraine’s land, author Anna Badkhen asked poets, journalists, and environmentalists to send accounts of the war’s ecological toll. “The Fallout,” a compilation of nine vignettes from Iya Kiva, Igor Bobyrev, Oleksiy Vasyliuk, Zarina Zabrisky, and Charles Digges, coalesces into a moving testimony to the senseless horror of human violence. From the radioactive Red Forest of Chernobyl’s Nuclear Exclusion Zone to the urban ecologies of occupied Donetsk, where Ukraine’s own forces threaten the lives of humans and animals alike, these raw, unflinching observations of local losses make visible the urgent need for kinship and healing on a global, geopolitical scale.”



Some notes made when reading Robert MacFarlane’s ‘Underland’  (you’ll need to read the book to find the reference to the sinkhole in the trees) ……

“The sink hole in the trees, with the poem on a piece of metal.  He thinks - “What happened here?”   Whatever it was – and is - the thing to do when you encounter such a place, if you can, if you feel strong enough, is to……..pour light on the piece of metal, and on the poem, pour a blessing on the poem which is concerned with “becoming unhuman”, pour all the light of the positive in humanity and of being human, that you possibly can, onto it, and into it  - into the sink hole.  Pour light.

I get the feeling that what happened there was was….war.  Some kind of exceptionally vicious aspect of hate.  I had an image of people, throwing other people, down there.

War de-humanizes, but it can also express the deepest forms of our shared humanity.

How he writes of the conflicts in that area reminds me of ‘Black Lamb & Grey Falcon’ by Rebecca West.  A heart-rending book. It took me two years to read it, having to take breaks from it.

From the beginning of the section entitled ‘Skoplje’ – what Rebecca West writes of Gerda – up to the lines …”all that we are and do means nothing, all that our ancestors were and did means nothing, unless we are naturally the equals of the peasant women on the Skopska Tserna Gora and in Bitolj, whose fingers never forget the pattern that an ancient culture had created as symbols for what it had discovered regarding life and death.”

I was so impressed with this when I read the book, nearly 30 years ago, that I marked the passage in pencil, in the book. Which is why I could easily find it again to quote it.”


And….also along these lines of thought…



Here’s  one I made earlier…. https://theorkneynews.scot/2020/08/02/skara-the-fourth-wave/

Add your comment

Your Name

Your Email (only if you are happy to have it on the site)

Your Comment - no HTML or weblinks

Enter this number in the box below and click Send - why?Unfortunately we have to do this to prevent the system being swamped by automated spam

Please note that whenever you submit something which may be publicly shown on a website you should take care not to make any statements which could be considered defamatory to any person or organisation.
Click for Map
sitemap | cookie policy | privacy policy | accessibility statement