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The Stubborn Light of Things

The Stubborn Light of Things

By Melissa Harrison

I am a nature writer and novelist, and I’m lucky enough to be able to walk out of my cottage straight into Suffolk’s beautiful open countryside. For six months – as spring 2020 broke over the British Isles, and summer turned to autumn – I documented the wonder and richness of the natural world and the changing seasons and brought the outdoors into as many locked-down homes as I could.


Episode Twenty-nine: Performance

Join Melissa, two years on from the original broadcasts, for a bonus episode recorded live at Green Man Festival in Wales. She’ll be on stage talking to Marchelle Farrell about nature writing, the Stubborn Light podcast, and her new nature app, Encounter. Listen →
29/08/23·29m 46s

Episode Twenty-eight: Outtakes

Making a nature podcast is harder than you think... Note: Contains bad words and loud noises! Listen →
07/10/20·3m 50s

Episode Twenty-seven: Meaning

Join Melissa for the last time on a longer walk than usual, taking in some familiar landmarks from earlier in the series. It’s a damp and misty autumn afternoon and the air smells of wet leaves and woodsmoke. Listen →
05/10/20·54m 1s

Episode Twenty-six: Weather

Join Melissa in her cosy cottage as wind and rain lash down outside. The autumn migration is underway, and billions of birds are on the move; indoors, it’s time to light the fire. Listen →
28/09/20·33m 54s

Episode Twenty-five: Healing

Join Melissa as she cycles to an abandoned World War II airbase and explores the old runways. A sharp breeze is plucking acorns from the trees, and skylarks are feeding in the brown stubble fields. Listen →
21/09/20·31m 49s

Episode Twenty-four: Faltering

Join Melissa and Scout as they walk down towards the village at sunset. The shadows of oaks stretch long over the stubble fields, the evening star comes out and pheasants fuss and cluck themselves to bed. Listen →
14/09/20·28m 12s

Episode Twenty-three: Encounter

Join Melissa as the sun rises on a crisp, cool autumn day; there are deer and hares in the dawn fields, and robins sing wistfully from the hedgerows. Listen →
07/09/20·27m 30s

Episode Twenty-two: Inheritance

Join Melissa as she walks Scout through the grounds of a stately home. The weather’s wet and it’s starting to feel like autumn; there are sloes in the hedgerows, and the first horse chestnut leaves are on the ground. Listen →
31/08/20·27m 46s

Episode Twenty-one: Normal

Join Melissa as she gets lost in a tangled wood on the edge of the village. It’s windy, and a robin sings from the understorey, while toadstools are sprouting underfoot. Listen →
24/08/20·27m 22s

Episode Twenty: Hope

Join Melissa as she scrambles down from her perch in an ancient oak and walks to a five-acre meadow managed for wildlife. Potatoes are being harvested, and buzzards wheel on thermals high overhead. Listen →
17/08/20·32m 36s

Episode Nineteen: Ritual

Join Melissa as she watches a huge combine harvester bringing in the golden wheat. The air is full of flying chaff, dragonflies, and the reedy sound of yellowhammers. Listen →
10/08/20·26m 4s

Episode Eighteen: Continuity

Join Melissa as she explores a nearby arable farm. It’s a scorcher of a day, the heat hammering down, and grey partridges take cover in the shadier hedgerows. Listen →
03/08/20·28m 23s

Episode Seventeen: Knowing

Join Melissa at dusk as she strolls around the peaceful village, looking for glow-worms. A tawny owl is calling from behind the church, and the hedgerows are full of crickets. Listen →
27/07/20·32m 6s

Episode Sixteen: Identity

Join Melissa and her dog Scout on a muggy walk among mudflats, creeks and saltmarsh where Phragmites reeds and sea lavender grow. Listen →
20/07/20·25m 25s

Episode Fifteen: Names

Join Melissa on a shingly Suffolk beach studded with sea kale, horned poppies and spiny blue eryngium. Listen →
13/07/20·23m 13s

Episode Fourteen: Looking

Join Melissa on a circular walk around the village’s sunny meadows. It’s haymaking time, and grasshoppers zither from the tall grass. Listen →
06/07/20·32m 40s

Episode Thirteen: Listening

Join Melissa as she listens for nightjars after dark. On Suffolk’s Sandlings the gorse smells of coconuts, while silver birches glimmer in the dusk. Listen →
29/06/20·28m 32s

Episode Twelve: Home

Join Melissa as she pays a visit to a nearby rabbit warren. It’s the longest day of the year, and the weather is sultry. Listen →
22/06/20·33m 5s

Episode Eleven: Value

Join Melissa as she looks for purring turtle doves. The tall June grass is thick with wildflowers, and songbirds are still in full and glorious voice. Listen →
15/06/20·29m 33s

Episode Ten: Binaries

Join Melissa at twilight – the ‘blue hour’ – in a tangled copse. The hedges are garlanded with dog roses, and ox-eye daisies glimmer beneath. Listen →
08/06/20·30m 2s

Episode Nine: Memory

Join Melissa as she follows the course of her local river. Elderflowers are taking over from cow parsley, and red damselflies throng the water. Listen →
01/06/20·30m 1s

Episode Eight: Uncertainty

Join Melissa as she cycles around Suffolk’s lanes in pursuit of a cuckoo. Scarlet poppies dot the hedgerows and billywitches (maybugs) are in flight. Listen →
25/05/20·24m 1s

Episode Seven: Time

Join Melissa as she explores a ruined cottage in the woods. The hawthorn hedges are in flower, and blackcaps are singing everywhere. Listen →
18/05/20·27m 0s

Episode Six: Stillness

Join Melissa in her garden as she waits to see swifts overhead. It’s warm and sunny; the birds are in full song, and mason bees are nesting in the back wall of the house. Listen →
11/05/20·25m 44s

Episode Five: Change

Join Melissa as she walks around the village, listening to the dawn chorus. May has come in bringing sunshine and showers; everywhere the woods smell of wild garlic, and the cow parsley is coming into bloom. Listen →
04/05/20·25m 28s

Episode Four: Mystery

Join Melissa as she listens for nightingales on a dark, moonless night. It’s the end of April, and in Suffolk the lilacs are in bloom. Listen →
27/04/20·24m 50s

Episode Three: Care

Join Melissa as she sets out at dusk in search of barn owls. It’s late April and the weather is a little chilly. Chaffinches and great tits sing from the hedges, and the fields of oilseed rape are bright yellow. Listen →
20/04/20·30m 43s

Episode Two: Beginnings

Join Melissa as she walks to the next village and back. It’s the middle of April and the weather is warm and dry. Butterflies are on the wing, and the lanes are hemmed with stitchwort. Listen →
13/04/20·27m 9s

Episode One: Endurance

Join Melissa on her daily walk through the beautiful Suffolk countryside. It’s the beginning of April and the fields are finally dry after a long, wet winter. In the woods, chiffchaffs are singing, there are buzzards wheeling over the oilseed rape, and the wildflowers sleeping in the village churchyard will soon burst back to life. Listen →
06/04/20·24m 57s
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