Newt on allotment

As we head towards the longest day of the year, Glasgow International begins and the art world emerges from under its stone. A strange period ahead of mourning and celebration. Perhaps we’ll capture some of that.

The newt pictured was photographed on an Edinburgh allotment. Brown and serenely lifeless, all those gathered round assumed it dead. But after some minutes did we see the barest twitch? Was it alive and just play acting? It hadn’t moved a muscle. We could have touched it to check for life signs, but chose instinctively to re-shelter it under a ‘lean to’ using a piece of slate. (This was rather than replacing the brick it was found under which might inadvertently injured the visitor.) When the slate was lifted five minutes later to check on developments, the newt had vanished—a bit of reptilian magic—now I’m here, now I’m not. With its ability for utter stillness in the face of fear, and subsequent elegant escape, newt behaviour somehow sums up more than a few things right now.