“I fade out to birdsong – let wingbeats and beaksounds take me away Over the threshold to a place where I can play with the edge of what is real, And what is magic. Because every day has the potential to be extraordinary Together we conjure this world.”

Something I wrote in my journal earlier this week. My pages are being filled with sketches of our garden – magnificent peonies, delicate bluebells, feisty bracken, guardian oak, divine apple blossom, sacred hawthorn, first rose – the threshold of the green that this fertile time of year feels to me. Fertile despite the devastation of corona, despite personal fallings and fadings and failings…

I’ve also been, as well as continuing my soundmapping project, simply annotating my book with the things I’ve heard outside each day. Living through the abrasive army jet planes which grace us nearly every bluesky day, and the confusing sudden increase in traffic mid-lockdown, are the resilient blackbird who sings is heart out on a branch above my home, bees humming a 3-tone meditation whilst supping on orange flowers of a shrub in our hedgerow, geese nearly everyday honking their mysterious trails overhead. A million voices of the river where I go to swim sing themselves into me. My own song becomes sap rising through my body as I surrender to this process of unknown journey towards summer. And a cuckoo, or several, reminds us to wake up!

A sense of threads unravelling on a big scale, to be re-woven in a tapestry made by the sheer force of life. A desire to become part of this, to offer my own medicine and also to recognise my smallness – ow can we know where we are going? All I can do is tune in to my offering, my perceived gifts, my hopeful power to help change for the better.

For a while now, I’ve had in mind this notion of ‘Nature’s Spotlight’ when performing/sharing music – it creates a noticeable shift in me, as though my ego slips away, even just a tiny bit, when my focus is sharing for – and as part of – nature, rather than trying to please a crowd.

For several years now I’ve been most drawn by the call of the magical outdoors and the music of the land, and setting my intention to allow through song and sound which harmonises with this, in some way at least – and sometimes it almost feels like it comes from the soil, from the water, from the trees, from the moss, from the stones, from the wind… Like many other musicians across the world I am finding my truest sense of belonging and purpose and power in communing with the earth through song.

and so…

I’ve finally got round to putting some videos on my personal Youtube channel (Ailsa Mair Arts), of short improvisations and songs recorded in our garden during lockdown. Here’s one i recorded this morning for Beltane/Calan Mai/May Day… I hope you enjoy!

Ailsa x

© 2017 Ailsa Mair Hughes