By Penny Sharman
Penny invites us to swim with her in the company of pearl divers, clams, wild horses, octopi, elephants, sharks, herring, dragon fish, dolphins, algae, seal pups, porpoise, whales and starfish. I am mostly made of water, she reminds us, moon drop on moon drop, we are all subject to the same tides.
In a similar way, we share another fluid – the air – in common with robins, nuthatch, tree-creepers, jays, rock-pipits, heron, cormorants, egrets, butterflies, gulls, cuckoos, owls, curlew, oystercatchers, godwits, bees, bats, pied wagtails, jackdaws, corncrakes and angels.
Birds sing inside her brain, as she travels from the Solway, through the Cotswolds, Slaithwaite, Porth-y-Corwgl, the Pennines, Tame Valley, Carreg Wen, Tollund, Lindow, Cornbrook, Aberdaron, the Taff, Carrbrook, Saddleworth Moor, to Iona, again and again revisiting the sea.
Yet this is no mere picturesque travelogue or bestiary. Penny uses her observations and reactions to reveal, not only her relationship with nature, but also with her partner and children, symbolised by her collection of hearts hung in windows to capture all the light needed to cure each broken one.
For as the Buddha says, no one saves us but ourselves.
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