Words of WonderKingfisher - Robert Macfarlane

Kingfisher: the colour-giver, fire-bringer, flame-flicker, river’s quiver.
Ink-black bill, orange throat, and a quick blue back-gleaming feather-stream.
Neat and still it sits on the snag of a stick, until with…
Gold-flare, wing-fan, whipcrack the kingfisher – zingfisher, singfisher-
Flashes down too fast to follow, quick and quicker carves its hollow
In the water, slings its arrow superswift to swallow
Stickleback or shrimp or minnow.
Halcyon is its other name – also ripple-calmer, water-nester,
Evening angler weather-teller, rainbringer and
Rainbow bird – that sets the stream alight with burn and glitter!

by Robert Macfarlane – from The Lost Words.


Recently I have been enchanted by a book called The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane which was purchased as a gift for my grandson. The author says:

“Once Upon a time, words began to vanish from the language of children. They disappeared so quietly that at first almost no one noticed – fading away like water on a stone. The words were those that children used to name the natural world around them: acorn, adder, bluebell, bramble, conker – gone! Fern, heather, kingfisher, otter, raven, willow, wren…all of them gone! The words were becoming lost: no longer vivid in children’s voices, no longer alive in their stories.”

The book reinforces concern about the plight of our environment and the future of nature.

Having just spent a weekend in the depths of the Hertfordshire countryside, near where I live, I experienced the joy of catching glimpses of a kingfisher across a chalk stream.  I was also privileged to catch sight of a water shrew and an egret, which became part of my mindfulness and compassion practice. Yet, even here all the wildlife is in danger as the stream is in threat of being dried up.

Research is providing fresh evidence that being immersed in and watching nature is a mindful experience. It is beneficial to our physical health and mental wellbeing.

Kristine and Fay are leading a weekend course called Engaged Mindfulness. They will be sharing practices to help us discover how the earth is an ever-present resource for us and experience our radical interconnectedness with all life. It will be a weekend, immersed in the beautiful grounds of Samye Ling in Dumfriesshire where the practices will help us connect to this wonderful planet we live on.

I invite you to take some time out to be mindful and see what you can experience in nature around you this week.

Come Practice With Us.

Warm wishes



Photo by Jan Meeus on Unsplash