A short story of the land

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The buttermilk flanks of the White Park cattle scattered the pasture’s western edge by the beech copse, unmoving in the morning mist, as if a loose huddle of field-mushrooms had sprouted overnight. As the rising sun began to burn off some of the fog and the chill, distinctive black noses and ears bobbed up as the entire herd looked to my arrival and the coming feed. They were fantastic grazers and mostly self-sufficient, but with the diminishing numbers I was determined to ensure that the calves and bullocks had the best chance of thriving…

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original artwork by Georgia Melodie Hole.

COVID-19 and the rise of rapid dissemination of research.

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Photo by Leyre Labarga on Unsplash

Covid-19 has changed the dissemination of science, with scientists favouring speed when it comes to publishing their findings on public health research, to share findings and data quickly during the crisis to combat the virus.

A clear example of this drive towards open and sharable research was a recent request from science leaders to the publishing community to make their content open and re-usable, sent on behalf of the chief science advisor or equivalent representing 12 countries. Over 40 journals and publishers also signed the statement “Sharing research data and findings…

It may not be all bad news.

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Ocean microplastics — photo from iStock

Microplastics have firmly entered the societal and environmental lexicon — a seemingly insurmountable problem given headlines of the recent find that there are 12–21 million tonnes of tiny plastic fragments currently in the Atlantic Ocean; at least 10 times more than previously thought.

Unfortunately, the latest research or news about plastic pollution often exceeds what we expect or can easily comprehend. However, it may be not all be bad news. A separate recent study analysing the degradation of microplastics in the marine system has found that the lifetime of plastics in the ocean environment may be shorter than feared. …

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photo by Georgia Melodie Hole.

Once, a bedroom window was smashed;
cricket in the garden, single-pane windows, a beer or two.
All I remember is joy;
The mischief felt at the consequence
of a fun and carefree night.

The laughs faded as the world closed in.
I think I could be depressed, he said,
But I knew.
I had met that black dog, and it stole different things.
What we were losing was he himself;
My father, as dementia took hold.

Time has stretched out, the distance to those memories has grown for us all. Their weight and colour fades, revived in photo prints but…

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Photo by Georgia Melodie Hole

A story from Oxford.

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The 5am sunrise over Oxford.

So far 2020 has lived up to a growing infamy for the capricious. After witnessing its spread around the world in the wake of COVID-19, on the 23 March the once-unthinkable notion of a quarantine of society finally hit UK shores. Along with the rest of the UK and the world, the city of Oxford I have called home for six years has changed and emptied; an unpopulated picture postcard of itself.

Many of us lost much of the comforting structure around our lives — of work, home and family routines, socialising, travel, or merely ambling…

This piece was originally published in Mediaview, Geology Today — a publication of the Geological Society of London and the Geologists’ Association.

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Stygobites — Niphargus aquilex (Image: Chris Proctor).

Gazing into nature’s aquarium; a replica of the distant life in the ocean, rock pools show us a glimpse of the distant, marine world of crabs, shrimps and all manner of crustaceans jostling for life in their aquatic domain. But is the coast as far as they venture? The holidaying shores of the seaside may hold the classic rock-pool, but a similar crustacean abundance exists unknown beneath our dry, clad feet. …

A lockdown poem.

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Photo by Georgia Melodie Hole

I push open the windows.
Sun-warmed air flows to forgotten corners;
turbulating sensory vignettes, emotions, memories,
evoked in scents of a world held distant.

Years ago,
At the collapse of what I thought was life,
I would stand protected behind glass,
watching the garden’s green threshold:
fences veiled simply in ornaments of ivy.

Both steadfast and changeable,
they would thrum with Spring’s thrashing blue tit chicks
or lie ponderous under fresh winter snow,
but always present.
A buttress against the tumult of life beyond.

I yearn to recapture that comforting structure, the constants, trodden paths and rituals…

Georgia Melodie Hole

Science poet. Photographer. Nature lover. Arctic climate researcher. Writer.

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