Unnatural nature: frozen in time


Phoenix from Aberdeen Bestiary

The summer rolls on, and I’ve been enjoying watching my garden burst into great, colourful blooms.  The roses have a short but beautiful life cycle, their brilliant reds and pinks quickly fading and curling up into shriveled brown petals, only to be replaced by more.  Yet this greenery is not timeless, and autumn is just around the corner.

But what if there were no autumn?  What if it were summer forever?  What if there were no seasons, no weather even, with the climate remaining constant from day to day, hour to hour?

In the Old English poem The Phoenix such a world exists.  It is paradise, ‘neorxnawang’, the home of the mythical bird.

Exeter Book

The Phoenix, a poem thought to have been composed during the ninth century, is from the Anglo-Saxon Exeter Book.  The phoenix’s homeland is removed from the earthly…

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