“Seems you can’t outsmart Mother Nature…” Mark Hyman (i)
Mars has just moved into Cancer – a good time to entertain you with a small but telling local tale which spans one recent two-year Mars cycle. Natal Mars in Cancer – I know, I have one of those! – doesn’t get the best press. But boy, are we tenacious and persistent when we are deeply angered. So – this is an excellent Mars in Cancer story as far as I am concerned, although the managers of our local Botanic Gardens and Kelvingrove Park would almost certainly disagree.
I have had the good fortune to live right beside Glasgow’s Botanic Gardens and Kelvingrove Park for many years. A long, wide, sloping path takes you down into the park, then levels out to follow the banks of the river Kelvin for a couple of meandering miles, eventually leading up onto Kelvin Way, Glasgow’s world famous Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, the Kelvin Hall, and Glasgow University. I have lost count of how many times I’ve done that walk in all weathers – usually wet, this being Glasgow of which I speak.
The right hand side of the path opposite the river is rich in vegetation – the usual untidy seasonally varying greenery and self-planting tree seedlings so beloved of Nature left to herself (clue here to what’s coming…). Locals of all ages frequent the path: couples, individual walkers, small children, parents, cyclists, runners, dogs. A favourite landmark of mine for all the years of walking this stretch has been two small, modest springs of iron-rich water, a few feet apart, arising from the soil close to the path. These springs have been leaving red deposits in the earth for as long as I’ve noticed them. I really like them – and have only just now realised that, perchance, having Mars in Cancer means like responding to like…
The springs only occasionally flowed slightly over the path; one needed merely to sidestep them. I don’t think any of the locals walking there regularly would have described this as a nuisance. However, the Powers That Be took it into their heads to have other ideas: very possibly when Mars was last in Cancer.
Thus began a concerted series of slowly escalating attempts to block the very modest occasional tricklings of iron spring overflow onto our riverside path. First of all, there was the digging of a long ditch along a thirty-foot stretch of the path, just below where the springs arose. This was slowly filled in with loose stone chippings by several workmen, in between checking Facebook etc on their mobile phones. For a while, this seemed to have been successful. No overflow.
However, having begun to take a somewhat displeased interest in this process – could the money in materials, wages and time not have been better spent funding rent for premises for a local youth club, for example? – I began to notice that the soil all along the length of the ditch was growing soggy. This didn’t bode very well for the health of the local vegetation, up to their knees now (metaphorically speaking) in iron-infused spring water.
A few months later, I noticed that the iron springs had soaked their way along the stone chippings. The overflow was starting up again. Only there was more of it this time. Cue more time, labour, Facebook-checking, expenditure. An exit pipe was duly installed below the path from beneath the offending springs’ location, discharging by now an increased volume of spring water into the river Kelvin opposite. For some time, success. No overflow onto the path.
However, this temporary bureaucratic respite didn’t work for long either. The soggy soil got soggier and longer in area, and we noticed that the red deposits at the outlets from the two springs had markedly grown. Hmmmm, I mused to myself, becoming increasingly interested in this escalating war. “I think those springs are getting angry!” My companion, like me not a great friend of formal henbrained authority, agreed.
The next round – as can be seen by the accompanying photo – consisted of even more labour, more Facebook checking with maybe a smattering of Instagram this time, and the creation of a low wooden fence the whole length of the unsuccessful ditch and the equally unsuccessful stone chippings. That might well have funded a part-time park keeper to empty the bins more frequently. Just a thought….
After a few months of this, you could now see the results. To my delighted astrologer’s eye, the iron springs got especially pissed off as Mars flowed through Cancer, liberally staining the offending wooden fence with iron deposits, depositing a big splat of watery iron beside it, and flowing liberally all the way across the path.
A few days later, I encountered two men, the younger wearing a red jumper ( you couldn’t make this stuff up!) gathering what turned out to be iron water bacterial samples for his PhD research. The other guy was his supervisor. I regaled them with the story of how those wonderful little iron springs had gradually risen up and stuck it to the Powers That Be. Then – as you would – I informed them that in symbolic terms the planet Mars rules iron, anger and the colour red. ‘Wow, put that in your PhD!’ quoth the supervisor to his student. And off I went on my way, punching the air in a victory salute on behalf of those wonderfully Martian springs.
In the very small and the very large scale – as we are currently finding out – Nature will always win in the end. We would do well to remember this, now, right across the globe.
1000 words ©Anne Whitaker 2021