In search of the ancient dead – by Nimue Brown

Thoughts here from Nimue about the everyday encounter with deep time you can have walking on the limestones of England.

Druid Life

By ‘ancient dead’ I don’t mean the human ancient dead, who, by planet measurements of time are really quite recent.

I grew up on the Jurassic limestone of the Cotswold edge. I guess it started because I wasn’t very steady on my feet – born with my toes pressed against my shins, I’ve always had weak ankles, and falling over was a frequent feature of my childhood. I still fall over on rough terrain more often than I am comfortable with. As a consequence, watching the ground carefully became part of my life early on.

The ground, it turns out, is an exciting place to fix your gaze. Alongside the hazard avoiding, I started seeing the wonders of the local rock. Shells, and limestone quartz can be picked up round here, and I collected, with a magpie’s glee for shiny things. Looking at the ground a lot stopped being a…

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