Rakesprogress #12

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At rakesprogress, we’re still adjusting to this new world order, but, as you can see, the magazine is still here, more profuse in pages — and we’d like to think — better than ever. So, here is volume 12, a bumper issue to make up for its absence this summer. It’s not a lockdown issue, but it is filled with some of the lessons learned over the last six months. We look at birdsong, deserted playgrounds and lockdown flowers. We talk to the forensic scientist who solves crimes using her knowledge of pollen and botany. We meet Masami-Charlotte Lavault, who bravely set up Paris’ first flower farm in an old graveyard. We ask Dan Pearson about his 20-year involvement with the Tokachi Millennium Forest, and discover how he fell in love with Japan and the Japanese sensitivity to nature. There is magic in this attention to detail, to the forensic examination of nature.

As we go to print, the word ‘lockdown’ is in the air again. Wherever you are, we hope you are able, in some small way, to enjoy the silence and the stillness, and take notice of the seasons changing every five days. Even just watching nature is a healing process. Engaging with it really can help. We hope that this magazine will inspire or bring comfort as we share our take on the strangest year of our lives — not locked down, more opened up, in the most revealing way.