Next weekend I – and at least one of you, because I’ve invited Mary (my erstwhile midsummer guest) to join me – am intending to celebrate the Summer Solstice.

Not at Stonehenge in the hot, chalky, noisy South of England. (Even without the pandemic, I wouldn’t have turned up there. I am a Hare of the Northern Hills.)

Nor at a Neolithic monument in Sutherland that I call “the Mother Stone”. Six miles over the hill, on the tick-infested moorland up Glen Loth (and yes, I am a hopefully-recovered Lyme’s ex-sufferer).

Instead, from the sanctuary of my sitting room in Brora (and Mary’s in Cambridge), & from the trefoiled path across the golf links to the sea shore, & from the ocean eastwards towards Moray, I shall be joining a virtual celebration with The Way of the Buzzard from the Lancashire/Yorkshire border.

With live footage via Zoom from Lower Winskill Farm where – as it happens, and serendipitously – I joined my spouse at the Meadow Connections event two years ago.

(NB the Meadow Connections event is unconfirmed as yet for 2020. Please don’t just turn up without checking first with the organisers.)

In 2018 we met several friends old and new:

  • members of the Scythe Association of Britain and Northern Ireland (SABI);
  • celebrators of traditional agricultural practice including Tom, our host;
  • botanists and entomologists;
  • shamanic leaders (including my current Zoom-retreat teachers Jason and Nicola);
  • a lovely Scout Leader Gemma and her mum, who were roped in as timekeepers in the scything contest;
  • new age and old age travellers (I’m in this category, as well as some of the others);
  • conservation scientists and environmental campaigners;
  • stone carvers and a grave-digger;
  • weavers and knitters;
  • permaculture practitioners;
  • folk musicians;
  • photographers;
  • artists;
  • local newspaper reporters;
  • at least two poets…

Oh, this is turning into a List Poem…

I’d better shut up, and turn towards engaging you with today’s session:

Wicker man scything, Lower Winskill Farm, July 2020

Brain dump

Today I feel as if I’m turning ….

Today I don’t want to turn

Today I’m turning towards a sense of …

Today I’d like to take my turn at

Today I intend to turn my ……………. into …

Bird reflections at Brora copyright Kathy McVittie 2020


turning points & changes of direction

I’m going to leave this exercise blank for just now.

Maybe you could just reflect for a few minutes, quietly and easefully, on what the above words bring to mind, or how they resonate with your present moment experience?

Sand turnings by “Ella” and “John” of Brora, early April 2020

Golden ThreadWork

As ever, select one of the following phrases & write it in your ThoughtBook.

Without labouring thought, continue the phrase onwards, in a free flow of words, squiggles or images, onto the waiting page.

Your golden threadwork can be short or long, or a series of any-length essays springing from several prompts.

Feel free to turn your hand to providing your own prompts!

"I'll be turning in then", he muttered, as he lifted the candlestick and opened the door to the stairs...

"Turning out nice today", raising his cap to her, just like that.

He/she wanted more than anything to turn over a new leaf ...

Turn under the hem for about an inch and a half, making adjustments as necessary.

Something'll turn up where you least expect ...

The corner of their infant mouths turned down in concert, and a piteous cry escaped from the second-to-youngest ...

One day he might turn into a prince, and until then I'll content myself with his slimy pads ...

and the following year turn-ups were popular again...

* Turn! Turn! Turn! To every time there is a season ... *

* For attribution for these words, see Further Resources section *

Affirmation, aspiration and intention

In the last two sessions I invited us to turn our attention to the affirmatory and aspirational phrases that we identify as likely to be helpful to adopt, or to share with others.

An extension of this exercise might be to set intentions, consiously, for those attitudes and goals towards which we want to turn more and more. For example, we could work or play with these statements of intent:

I choose to turn towards …

I aspire to turn into …

I hereby make an intention to …

Signed …………………….. and dated ………….

And to round off today’s session, here’s a reminder for

Turning towards appreciation

Today I am grateful for:




Home-grown radishes and koala birthday cushion May 2020

Further Resources

Musical memories

Turn! Turn! Turn!‘, or ‘Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is a Season)‘, is a song which the older among us might associate with the hit single by the USA folk rock band The Byrds in 1965.

In fact it:

is a song written by Pete Seeger in the late 1950s and first recorded in 1959. The lyrics – except for the title, which is repeated throughout the song, and the final two lines – consist of the first eight verses of the third chapter of the biblical Book of Ecclesiastes.,_Turn,_Turn

The Wikipedia link takes you to a fascinating (to me) account of the copyright and royalty claims for the words and music of the song. Those of us over 55, 65, 75 will recognise many familiar names from the music industry. Younger readers might turn to – and learn from – it, too.

Here is a Judy Collins’ version, which may be preceded by adverts for which I am not responsible.

Other artists are available.

Re: Turning prefixes and prepositions

If you look at the”turning” phrases in today’s session, most of them marked in bold ( I guess some have escaped), you’ll see a variety of prepositions.

Words like “under”, “in”, “up” which are here further refining our sense of the word “turn” and its derivatives.

We can also play with some of these words stuck onto the front of “turn” as prefixes, as in “upturn“, and the common word “return” (literally “again-turn” . Can you brainstorm further prefixes for “turn” ? Go, write!

Poems that turn things around

I’m sure I’ve used the concept of “turning” in my own poetry, particularly in relation to what our planet, Earth, does, and what the year does.

Similar words and themes – orbiting, spinning (which invites its own wool-gathering…), rotating, diverting – could lure you away at this point, and you may already know how being thus distracted might turn out

Saturn spinning: wallpaper border salvaged from neighbours’ shed clear-out

As ever, I invite you to share extracts of your own relevant writings, and examples of those of others, in the Comments section.

And I’ll just leave you with this melancholic envisioning from Ronald Stuart Thomas, a Welsh clergyman who inhabited the raw realities of the lives of his parishioners, many of whom worked close to the land, the weather, and stark landscapes. external and internal.

Not a bundle of laughs; rather lugubrious.

Song at the Year’s Turning

Shelley dreamed it. Now the dream decays.
The props crumble; the familiar ways
Are stale with tears trodden underfoot.
The heart’s flower withers at the root.
Bury it then, in history’s sterile dust.
The slow years shall tame your tawny lust.

Love deceived him; what is there to say
The mind brought you by a better way
To this despair? Lost in the world’s wood
You cannot stanch the bright menstrual blood.
The earth sickens; under naked boughs
The frost comes to barb your broken vows.

Is there blessing? Light’s peculiar grace
In cold splendour robes this tortured place
For strange marriage. Voices in the wind
Weave a garland where a mortal sinned.
Winter rots you; who is there to blame?
The new grass shall purge you in its flame.

© R. S. Thomas (1913-2000)
found at