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Showing posts from February, 2020

A POEM A DAY - EMBRACE

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This walk above St Feliu de LLobregat, looking down to Barcelona, is a oasis of peace and nature for people escaping from the city. The well marked paths take you over the hills, through trees, above the haze of heat and dust. On a warm day we were accompanied by runners, walkers, families and couples strolling hand in hand. This tree reminded me of that closeness. 




© 2020 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - FINDING LIGHT

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Today I am struggling with fear as panic spreads with the same ease as infection. Mine is not totally irrational with my vulnerability to lung disease and family members at risk. However fear needs to be controlled and keeping my distance from overcrowded human spaces and retreating to nature seems a good option. 


© 2020 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - SPRING IN THE AIR

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There is still a nip in the air but signs of spring are everywhere. New green leaf, trees in blossom, birdsong and the warmth of midday sun as the days grow longer. 
© 2020 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - SPHINX

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Green spaces in towns and cities are important environments for people to relax and connect with nature, especially in Spain when the majority of urban properties have no garden.  I love city parks, often quiet havens during the week, bursting with life and children's energy at weekends and after school times. This Sphinx is one of two guarding the entrance to the Torreblanca park in Sant Feliu de Llobregat. They were built over a hundred years ago on the site of an old palace, that suffered during the Spanish civil war and was eventually made into a park in the 1980's. On a sunny Sunday morning it was full of strollers and families, enjoying the trees, wildlife and fresh air. © 2020 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - TREE CREATURE

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We watched the sun go down over distant Barcelona from the hills above Sant Feliu where you can take a green path walking through trees to the city. It was calming to be above the cars, motorways, airport, cities full of apartments, thousands of people living their lives. I love this tree with its spiky twig figure standing in the middle, pointing the way. 
© 2020 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.


A POEM A DAY - CHATTERING SEEDS

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These seed pods on a tree in a street in St Feliu reminded me of the robot heads on an advert for smash potato when I was a child. Street culture is one of the most enjoyable aspects of Spanish life. The weather allows us to sit outside sharing a coffee or a beer most of the year and 'terrazas' in towns and villages are buzzing with families, school run parents, retired groups of men and women, workers taking their break and visitors enjoying the scene. 
© 2020 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - BARCELEONA SUNSET

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The setting sun over St Feliu flamed the sky as planes from the nearby El Prat airport made puzzles in the sky. The change from village to city is strange, from my front door straight onto the car width street to a flat in the air, mountain views to city skylines. 

© 2020 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - GRANDPARENTS

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When I was young I was fortunate to have a nana and grandad who who were always there for me, taking care of us when my parents worked. I didn't miss my other grandparents, not understanding what I had lost.  As I grow older and am now a grandmother myself I find myself thinking more of the grandparents I never knew. They live on in the memories passed down by my mother, stories told and retold.


© 2020 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - EL BARRANC DE L'ENCANTÁ

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This image is of the 'Gorg del Salt', the waterfall cascading into a deep green pool, part of the river system known as the 'Barranc de L'encantá', the Ravine of the Enchanted. The river cuts through the rock, collecting in pools and falls. 
The legend of the Enchanted is a local myth dating back to when these lands were populated by the descendants of the Arab Kingdom of Al Andalus. When Felipe III decreed the expulsion of the Moorish population the people of the Vall de Gallinera were forced to leave. The legend states that they left a wonderful treasure hidden in a cave in the Barranc, which stretched for 14 kilometres from the village of Planes to the mouth of the river Serpis near the village of Beniarrés. The treasure was guarded by a young women who was enchanted to be its guardian. Various versions tell that she was a beautiful maid from the waist up, with the lower body of a goose, who wore a golden crown that shone with sunlight when she left her cave ever…

A POEM A DAY - BACK IN THE KOOTENAYS

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It is often said that the sense of smell is a major trigger for memory. When walking in woods in Spain the scent of pine on the air often takes me back to a treasured time I spent in Canada, living in a cabin in the woods near Kootenay Lake. The combination of pine on the breeze and the tranquility of this reservoir at Planes took me back to that special place. 

© 2020 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - TREE CREEPERS

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These creeping beetles on pine trunks reminded me of the climbers crawling up the Peña Roja rock face, their neon bright tops shining like beetle shells.

A POEM A DAY - LACE

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I love the patterns the branches of this tree made against the brilliant blue of the winter sky. It reminded me of the bobbins of lace makers in the lace market in Valencia, or the local tradition of 'gancillo', crocheted lace made with fine white cotton thread. All new brides would once have had table clothes and bed linen bordered with this beautiful lace made by women in their families. I remember women sitting in the street with tight balls of cotton. Sadly the tradition is now dying out as younger women no longer make 'gancillo', although some villages are now running workshops to help people recover the art. This tree was on the banks of the river in the Barranc de L'Encantá near the village of Planes in Spain. 

A POEM A DAY - ROCK FACE

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This stunning mountain man looks down over the Vall de Pop from the rock face Peña Roja near the village of Lliber. It is a popular place for climbers and I watched a number creeping up the rock. It was a peaceful morning, the river still flowing after recent rains, the air filled with bird song. Further up the valley cars threaded the roads and walkers filled the caminos and village streets as the almond blossom attracted the yearly visitors. 

© 2020 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - SNAKE ROOTS

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These snake like roots were wriggling across stones in the river bed at the Barranc de L'Encanta near Planes. It was shocking to see the height of debris deposited in trees and shrubs around the river. At some points they were over my head and showed the extent of flooding of the barranc in the recent storms. Some trees had been uprooted, reeds flattened and vegetation scattered from the barranc, over the roadway into adjoining terraces. 

© 2020 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - HEREAFTER

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The changing seasons reminds me of what lies ahead, the unknown path, the adventures to come. It feels like a time for looking forward and walking through new doors. 

© 2020 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - IN LOVE

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My mother never liked flowers on Valentine's Day. Although deeply romantic, she didn't approve of the commercialisation of the day and the idea that gifts were given for custom and not love. She wasn't even a great one for presents on birthdays or Christmas. What my mum really loved was a spontaneous thought, a flower from the garden, a kiss from the heart. Between them my parents needed no proof of love. They were entwined, meant for each other, happily together for over 60 years. 


© 2020 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - RIU

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The Riu Bullent as it flows past the Muntanyeta in the Marjal in Pego. This river system links to the canals that feed the rice paddies in the Marjal. It was close to flooding after the recent storms but was back to its tranquil flow this week. 


© 2020 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved

A POEM A DAY - KITTEN PAWS

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This small tree bordered the river in the Pego marshes. I am not sure if it is a species of willow and will see if the buds turn into catkins but the pussy willows reminded me of English willow trees and how much I loved them as a child. 

© 2020 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - ROOF CAT

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I came across this beautiful cat on a roof terrace of an empty house in Pego. This was obviously her place, she seemed at once serene and in charge of her place. © 2020 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - CHINA WHITE

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Another scrap of debris on the beach from the recent storms. The coast still looks battered and many of the beaches will need resources to recover before the tourist season. This egg was larger than a hen's egg, gulls do not seem to nest on the low dunes so I think it has been washed up from cliffs down the coast. 



© 2020 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - BLUSH OF BLOSSOM

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It is a  beautiful weekend in this area of Spain. The sun is warm, the damp of the last few weeks has lifted and the countryside is flushed pink with almond blossom. This is to be enjoyed while it lasts, a windy few days can blow the blossom away and already the hint of green leaf is showing on the trees. Today will see more people out walking, enjoying the show. I wonder how long this lovely sight will last. Almond growers can not compete with American imports and many of the almond groves have been abandoned. Without care and yearly pruning the trees grow wild with less flower. We are living through a time of change in the farming patterns as traditional crops lose value, part time farmers age and a new generation is not working the land. 






© 2020 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - BUMBLE BEE

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The walk around the Muntanyeta at the Marjal was as peaceful and refreshing as ever. However the route is not looking its prettiest. The banks and reed beds have been shorn and on a dull day the cut cane gave an overwhelming paleness to the scene. Look a little closer and there is change. Gorse flowers are hinting yellow, pussy willow buds turned from white to green in a week and bees were buzzing all over the tiny buds. A week ago the greed buds of this plant were tightly shut. A week later the onion weed was open and this bumble bee was buzzing around. The silky looking stamen looked like onion but I didn't get close enough to see if it had a smell. 



© 2020 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - LUCK IN THE LEAVES

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These winter months can be dull even in Spain, however when the sun shines the light transforms the countryside. This image would not be admired by real photographers as the light is too strong and bleaching, but I love how it illuminates the clover leaves in the shape of hearts.
When I was young I could spend hours lying on grass, looking for a lucky four leaf clover. I think I would have found a few here. 

© 2020 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.




A POEM A DAY - EGRET

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I love watching the birds at the Marjal marshes near Pego. The rice paddies and the rivers and canals that feed them are home to many water birds, including egrets, herons and more recently ibis. I rarely catch the herons and egrets feeding, more often than not they are standing still, perched on one leg, like statues in the marsh, flapping into the sky when disturbed. Today they were wading the flooded fields, pecking in the mud with spiked beaks. 
© 2020 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - ANGEL OF THE ETERNAL GOSPEL

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I was shocked yesterday to read of the damage done to one of the angel windows at Coventry Cathedral. A pane of the West Screen depicting the Angel of the Eternal Gospel was broken in an attempted burglary and the Cathedral is raising funds to repair the damage or if necessary, replace the pane. 
The West Screen at the Cathedral entrance is a magnificent wall of glass designed by John Hutton and engraved with 66 figures of saints and angels. It is hauntingly beautiful, even more so when looked at from the steps of the old Cathedral when the ruins of the old are reflected on the saints and angels of the new building.
Coventry Cathedral was raised out of the ruins of the St Michael's Cathedral bombed during the blitz on November 14th 1940. From its inception it was conceived as a project of forgiveness and for many years it has been a place of worship, peace and conciliation between peoples and faiths. In a time where peace feels threatened and the world a more dangerous place I hope …

A POEM A DAY - FAIRIES FLY

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When I was a child we always called thistle fluff  'fairies' and I would run around trying to catch them as they danced on the wind.  Blowing a dandelion head was either counting time with my puffs as the clocks blew away or releasing more fairies on the wind. Seeing their sparkle now still makes me smile. 

© 2020 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - QUICKENING

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The morning sun waking the village to a new day. A reminder to look on the world anew each day with hope and gratitude. 




© 2020 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - STORM ART

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It was a beautiful first day of February at Les Deveses with a warm breeze blowing and the sun shining on my face. The recent storm had carved out the river bed and dunes, forming new sand banks which were lined up with fisherman and a lone fisher woman. The shore line was littered with debris from the storm, most of which was arranged in interesting and beautiful shapes, art forming from chaos. 

© 2020 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - IMBOLC

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I have woken up to day to an amazing sunset, pink and gold lighting the sky. Then a flurry of raindrops wet the terrace to the sound of the morning cooing of wood pigeons and the crow of cockerels. The sky is now blue with wispy cloud and a lovely first day of Spring heralds as the February display of almond blossom is starting to blush. A good day to get outside and honour the returning light and Brighid, Goddess and Saint of fire, forge, hearth, poets and newborns, healing and inspiration. I will keep a candle lit today. 





© 2020 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.