Friday, 29 January 2016

In The Raw Wind Of The World ...

I walk upstairs and sit at the desk in my eyrie at the top of the house.
Early morning with a glorious sunrise.
Time to write my blog post for this week.
A blank screen.
A blank mind.
No inspiration.
No ideas.
No words.
Writer's block.
"Writing about writer's block is better than writing nothing at all." ~ Charles Bukowski 

I could tell you that I have been reading, a lot - including young adult fiction.
Bought very cheaply in a library sale.
And that it was very enjoyable.
But I can't find the words.

I could tell you that I have been photographing birds through the window.
Jenny Wren and Robin.
Hopping in and out of the plants looking for insects and eating from the cocoanut.
But I can't find the words.

I could tell you that the snowdrops are in flower; pure white in their innocence and beauty.
Bravely pushing through the cold wet  soil.
But this poem says it better than I could.

I could mention that January has flown by so fast and that spring is just around the corner and the garden will soon be filled with all manner of daffodils.
But you know that already.

Picture from 2015

I could tell you about the cat and the crows up in the pine tree.
And how the crows refused to budge and were making an unholy row.
Taunting the cat.
And the cat finally gave up, defeated and struggled back down the tree.
And the crows were victorious - cark, cark, cark they called.
But you probably don't want to hear about that.

Or maybe I could tell you about a beautiful book that I found that I hope will inspire me to take up baking again, after I lost confidence in my baking abilities - so I can have friends round for afternoon tea, which would be lovely.
But, maybe I won't.

So, you see I'm stuck.  Words evade me.  The strong winds of winter have blown them out of my mind.
Writer's block is a terrible thing - maybe I'll find something to write about next week!

"When words don't come easy, I make do with silence and find something in nothing." ~ Strider Marcus Jones

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

As Glorious Winter Makes Her Snowy Bed ...

I went to bed as the first snowflakes fell.
Opening the morning curtains
Behold, a transformation.
Each day Mother Nature paints a different picture.
She gets out her paint box and brush and with a few strokes turns our world from green to white
With stealth.
Turning the landscape into a winter wonderland.
Hurrying through breakfast like excited children
We went out into a crisp white world.
With snow comes a hush and bright, reflected light
Muffling noise into silence.
Horses stand motionless
Breathing white plumes of frosted air.
Stark winter hedgerows turn into a thing of beauty.
Beyond, fields of pure unsullied virgin snow.
The village becomes Narnia.
And flowers bloom beneath their snowy quilt.
This white world didn't last long.
By next morning it had all but disappeared.

But, oh, it was beautiful while it lasted.

Oh, these white winter walks exhilarate
As does the crisp frost tipped air
Blown 'cross the mountain tops and vales
Light as a butterfly-snow so fair;
'Tis the whitest of white times
Heralding in all the holidays best
Celebration 'cross the countryside and nearby vales
Pass the most perilous of slippery road test;
Out upon the sod - a snowman or two
With building of snowcastles supreme
Oh, those white winter walks incite exuberance
Hence giving credence to my white winter dream;
As glorious winter makes her snowy bed
And the invigorating air chills to the bone
I am ever thankful for this white winter world
And for all of the past winters I have known.

 ~ White Winter Wonderland ~ Theodora Onken

Friday, 15 January 2016

Sunshine and Shadow ...

The early morning sky was pink and welcoming.
Come outside and play, it said.
The sun rises.
It offers no heat.
Casting shadows - silhouettes of trees across walls and fields and newly emerging winter wheat.
The temperature has dropped rapidly.
The bright light is deceptive.
It is bitterly cold; sharp and piercing.
I walk - hatless - my ears tingle.
And I cannot feel my fingers.
I wear a thick wool coat but the wind finds its way inside.
I pull my collar closer and walk a little faster.
Not my favourite month.
When life becomes dull.
And rainbows hang half-hearted in the slate grey skies.
And the heart is restless.
Waiting for spring.




Friday, 8 January 2016

In The Fading Light Of Winter ...

We hear them before we see them.
Flown in from colder foreign climes to our misty, grey, milder climate. Geese. Canada Geese.
They have arrived. Dozens of them. On the lake and grazing the pasture.
They return here every year.
A line of them on the horizon against the grey blue of the sky.
Heads down, necks forward, intent on full bellies before nightfall.
A cacophony of noise on the lake. Honking and screeching. Goose language.
Then quiet.
They settle.
Peace reigns.

Reeds and river grasses, bleached and flattened in the water. Streams running down the hillside. More water than the earth can cope with. Finding its way into the lake in rivulets across the road.
One last look at the stark winter trees as drizzle sets in;  and the light dims.

We took a small detour.
Passing by the canal to Debdale Wharf where narrow boats spend the winter for cleaning and repairs.
We stop.
Peer over the bridge.
Two swans make their way downstream gliding silently.
Looking for a safe haven to rest and dream whatever swans dream of.


We take a short walk.
Meet some friendly little pigs foraging in a small woodland.

Down the lane I spot an old farmhouse.
Quietly disintegrating.
Ivy encrusted walls.
Rotting windows.
Two dogs manically barking in the yard. A handful of ducks in the garden.
The lights of a Christmas tree shining through the gloom.
My memory stirred; I know this place, I thought. I have been here before.
Then I recall; I bought some ducks from the farmer once; the ducks were unusual with pom-poms of feathers on their heads, topknots -  like old ladies hats at a wedding.
Eventually, their lives were cut short by a rogue fox.

That was long ago.
Two decades.
Disappeared into the mists of time.

We head for home.


Friday, 1 January 2016

Adventures and Exploration ...

We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time ~ T.S.Eliot
Tired of all the excesses and inactivity of the past week we went on a little exploration of  a village close by; Gumley, small, with just one street - a pub and a church - a one horse town.  It is part of a larger estate with hills and valleys, woodland and pasture; the church stands on a small rise and the warm stone glowed in the afternoon sun.  Partly surrounding the church is a small woodland; we ventured in through an old dilapidated gate, that is neither use nor ornament, and crunched through a leaf-littered floor.  From past posts you know that I am in my element when surrounded by ancient trees, and although the feeling of a woodland  is different in winter; I still find them full of mystery and unspoken secrets.

Trees had fallen and were rotting back into the ground; but where there is death, life finds a way.  The trunks had been taken over by such a variety of fungi some glistening in the sun, as if coated with honey.
Suddenly, out of nowhere, a small group of sheep blundered into view; as startled to see us, as we them.  They looked so incongruous in a woodland setting rather than pasture; soon they ignored us and went about their business, as if we were the intruders,  not they.  On the way out we found a broken fence, no doubt they would make their way back to the grass when they were ready.

The back of the church opens out on to grazing land with a huge tree at its centre, planted to give the animals shade in the heat of summer. 
Back out on the road I spotted this ancient wall draped with ivy - to my mind, reminiscent of Miss Havisham's garden - beautiful in its neglect.

It is always good to spend time out of doors after all the overindulgence of Christmas - and  now my husband is retired we hope to go on many more adventures and explorations of neighbouring villages, finding secret overgrown places and paths that lead nowhere.

We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure.  There is no end to the adventures that we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open. ~ Nehru