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Arcadia is like a bucket of cold water to the face. Wake up! it shouts. Wake up! Look! This world you see on screen is alien, and yet it brings a shiver of recognition. What is that in the trees? What do I see from the corner of my eye? I have been here before.May 16, 2018
There came the point when the secateur blades were within an inch of the antlers, which in the poor light seemed as grey as the honeysuckle. Then the roebuck had had enough. In one convulsive movement it flung itself into the air and broke free. It hurtled away, crashing downhill, disappearing into the darkness of the trees.April 30, 2018
I remove an individual dandelion seed and let it drop onto my notebook. I keep plucking, and ten minutes later I have a pile of 82 seeds (or 83, but I’m not counting again) wavering across the pad in a soft froth.April 23, 2018
She loves the stories hidden in the landscape – particular hedges, the small paths that signify cross-breeding links, farming styles, a new kerbside or a route home. To me Dorothy Hartley is a fellow student following the complex web of how the physical, natural world translates to our daily and cultural material experience.April 4, 2018
I slip my hand deep inside the ewe. Reach in turn for one front hoof then bent leg. My fingers meet the inner wall of the ewe’s womb, her muscles ribbed in symmetry with the ridges of the ram’s horns.April 2, 2018
As the water poured over the sills we could see it in several different forms: hanging just above the top sill, oily blue, darkly mirroring the sky; falling in a smooth sheet down the face of the weir, sparkling with light; breaking into cataracts that fell like braids; tumbling chaotically over the next sill; and so on down.March 26, 2018
I’m writing to you about a tree. A pine tree, perhaps a hundred years old, maybe a little older, that until yesterday stood on a hill at the edge Bridport in Dorset. It’s a tree that you felled yesterday to make way for a new mobile phone mast. I’ll tell you the story as it happened, and at the end I’ll ask you to tell me a story in return.March 23, 2018
If you are lucky enough to witness roosting horseshoe bats, you may see them gently swinging to and fro, rather like a gymnast about to start a routine on the high bars. They have switched on their directional sonar and are detecting your whereabouts. They know you are there.March 19, 2018
Trees have character, just like animals and people. Some have grown tall and rangy in a rush for elevation; others have a more rounded crown and are already strongly branched. When I am alone among the trees, I often stand under my favourite, a fourteen-footer that spreads its tent of foliage over a young tree’s muscular limbs, and casts a cosy, yellowish gloom of light around me. Seán Lysaght on watching trees grow.March 5, 2018
‘We no longer camp as for a night’, the American philosopher, Henry David Thoreau wrote, ‘but have settled down on earth and forgotten heaven’. Philip Hoare on reconnecting to the earth, the sea and the tangible universe.February 5, 2018
“In its light I know where the world is.” A powerful piece by Abi Andrews on our ‘small communions’ with the natural world.January 29, 2018
From the Archive
THE CLEARING is an online journal published by Little Toller Books that offers writers and artists a dedicated space in which to explore and celebrate the landscapes we live in. Our contributors are encouraged to go forth and find distinctive visions that startle us, rural or urban, modern or prehistoric, industrial, post-industrial, fantastical, natural, political, however they come. But each must be meaningful, surprising, felt.
The editors welcome original submissions in all written, audio and visual genres. Submission should reflect The Clearing/Little Toller’s concern with the natural environment, but within this broad subject-matter we encourage a diversity of interpretation and approach.
If you would like to send work to The Clearing, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org