Monday, 28 May 2007

Edge of the Wood

Footpath near Ley Green, 26 May 2007

Where the lightness of the open sky meets the darkness deep within the trees,
Where the skylarks song meets the gentle clattering of the aspen leaves,
Where the bracken fronds unfurl their carpet beneath the slender pines,
Where the cool wind of the early morning meets the stillness of night,
Where the path divides the tall trees from the short cammomile, grass and beans,
Where the elderflowers light up the woodland edge with lights of white,
Where the muntjac leave shelter and venture into the expanse of the open,
This is the edge of the wood.

Blackbird Song

Ford Farm, Newent, May

I am standing at dusk beneath a silver birch just listening. Listening to the songs of a couple of blackbirds penetrating the enclosing darkness. Song so powerful, melody so different. Is it music? I don't hear such singing so obviously around home - it takes a holiday to be able to go out more freely into the countryside in the evenings and enjoy that time of day.

Hello Fox

Ford Farm, Newent, 14 May

I am standing on a small narrow bridge where a footpath crosses a stream. I am surrounded by trees and wild garlic as I sketch the stream below. A rustling in the undergrowth, and a fox cub tentatively approaches me. There is a worn path through the ransomes over the bridge, presumably thye fox's own footpath. After a few minutes and a few wary advances the fox passes me only about a foot way and scampers off to the other side of the stream.

Rain, My Companion

A walk up onto Croft Ambrey, Sunday 13 May.

Pouring Rain, all day long. I walk up through Fishpool Valley, then cut up throught the woods onto the lower banks of Croft Ambrey.

I look at the colours on the woodland floor. Even in the rain the green colours seem so vivid and bright - even yellows that contrast with the greyness of the sky: spurge, dog's mercury, ferns... Such vibrancy, so many shades of green, they almost have a light of their own.

Then I pass into the conifer stands. The mist is almost purple between the near distant trees. Greens give way to the browns, oranges and the smell of pine.

I pass a sheet of corrugated iron, possibly an old pheasant shelter/feeder, propped up by a wooden frame and brambles. The face of a startled fox peers out from its dry shelter only about four feet away from me. Then off it runs through the dampness.

I exit the pines onto the lower edge of croft Ambrey - common land with new bracken unfolding. The air is still here on the sheltered side. Low cloud envelopes the hill. Quiet and still. The heavy scent of the surrounding hawthorn blossom fills the air - strong, damp, peaceful in the surrounding mist. I look at the hawthorn flowers close up. So beautiful - white, with pink anthers and silver drops of water.

I am alone on top of the hill.

Walking back down the track. I observe the rain falling on the oaks and other other broadleaves edgeing the stoney path. Water drips all around me, so close. And then I side-step into the pines - the sound is so much more diffuse, high above me the rain touches the top of the canopy - a more ethereal and distant sound that fills the larger space.

I have touched the cool rain. It has touched me. I am refreshed. The rain has become my companion on the lonely hill where few have tread on this very wet day.

Thursday, 10 May 2007

Rain, Moths and Rabbits

At last, a few days of rain and, actually, a reasonable amount. The fields around here seemed, slightly worringly, rather dry. I am sure that the corn and beans will welcome it. The beans are still in flower and their scent is amazing; whilst the oilseed rape is going over now. Although we have had days of wonderful warmth, the nights have been cold. Some things in the garden are growing well, others are static. Putting tomato plants out a couple of weeks ago was, perhaps, a little on the optimistic side and many of my runner beans seeds have rotted in their pots. Must remember to allocate funds towards a small greenhouse or something!


I think we had a couple of cinnabar moths in the garden a few weeks ago. As I have only now remembered to look them up I have to rely on my memory for identification. Such beautiful red markings on the hind wings. On balance it was them rather than burnet moths.


Haven't had time to be inspired by much recently apart from creativity for work. Developing a new concept for a cute rabbit for greetings cards isn't a bad day job!

Tuesday, 1 May 2007

The Yellow-framed Sky

A nearby cuckoo calls in the river valley,
I'm lying, looking up at the clear blue sky;
As if a picture, framed by the vivid yellow oilseed.
I'm in the cool shade if a wheel track,
Yet the blooms above me are in early warm sunshine.
An occasional stronger breeze waves across the yellow,
And a light flurry of golden petals falls onto me.
Above, a high vapour trail cuts through nature
Reflecting that which the tractor has made.
Several distant aeroplanes sparkle,
Then a singing swallow circles above:
Its song breaking through the shimmering of the poplar leaves.