Dragon Rider #2: The Griffin’s Feather, Cornelia Funke
Another exciting tale of magical creatures, with lots of thoughts about conservation and wildlife.
India: one man’s personal journey round the continent, Sanjeev Bhaskar
The fact that Sanjeev Bhaskar is part of the Indian Diaspora and visited India as a child gives him a really good perspective on India, as both insider and outsider. He also writes in a very engaging way, so this book is easy to read. The TV series it was written to accompany was also very good, and both the book and the series explore the multifaceted nature of modern India. He also writes very movingly about Partition, the massacres that took place, and its effects, both on his family and on India and Pakistan.
See the world as a rabbit sees it. Wide angle view, Not straight ahead As a predator sees, But sidelong, as prey animals see.
Long shadows, Tall grass. Noting every hiding place. Ready to bolt At the first sign Of predators. Each breath taken Short and shallow. Darting from shelter To shelter. Grass here, Lettuce there. Sun is warm, Earth is kind.
None of the poems I read today Spoke into the depths Nor raised an answering echo. Petrarch, Chaucer, Donne, Whispering their plaints into the soft air Fell to earth, drifting ash. Nonetheless I wrote this, To record the ensuing silence.
The low cosmic hum Of all the stars singing the worlds into being. Who can know the thoughts of a star, Or how they compose The music of the spheres? What faults might stars commit That they fall to earth A bolt from the infinite, Becoming finite, massy? If they look upon the pale blue dot And hear the tumult, Do they not complain Of the marring of their music? Or is the discordant theme Woven into the greater music?
I recently listened to an interesting podcast from Circle Talk: Four Witches on Coven Hierarchy. I was pleased to note that most of the speakers on the podcast were advocating for a pretty flat hierarchy. I have written a fair amount about the roles and expectations of the different degrees in Wicca (in All acts of love and pleasure: inclusive Wicca) and quite a lot about coven leadership and the concept of “elders” (in The Night Journey: Witchcraft as Transformation). I regard the Wiccan degree system as being like the apprenticeship system in medieval guilds (apprenticeship, journeyman, master). There was very little in the podcast that I disagreed with, except the one guy who makes his first degree coveners clean the coven brassware. I’m with the woman who said she is happy when people volunteer to help, but she doesn’t make them do tasks.