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.

Elaine



Comments

  1. The sound of geese flying over our house: I utterly love it (and was lucky that they did it in Hildesheim, Hamburg and Berlin).
    Your climate is mild, so they can hibernate.
    And yes: peace soothes from every of your beautiful photos! Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is a good sound Britta and they seem to talk to one another all the while they are flying. Thank you.

      Delete
  2. They have a white crested duck at Martin Mere. It was a noisy little thing and definitely would break a tranquil atmosphere.


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They do look comical with their little hats on - my ducks were Cayugas.

      Delete
  3. Katherine Mansfield's line "The mind I love must have wild places, a tangled orchard where dark damsons drop in the heavy grass" takes me forward to a time when I can anticipate making more damson conserve and then delicious damson ice cream. But of course there is much more to enjoy and appreciate before then.
    I love to see the Canadian geese strutting their stuff and honking overhead but know that they are not very popular in many areas, especially when they use public areas and parks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I didn't have much of a crop of damsons last year but if it is better this year I will definitely be giving your damson ice cream a go. The geese don't really do any harm where they are here but I realise they must make quite a mess in more built up areas.

      Delete
  4. Canada Geese and swans are a familiar sight along our river too Elaine ..... I still get a thrill when I see them !!! ( it doesn't take much nowdays !!!! } I think that I would be beside myself if I ever went ' on safari ' !!
    I think that your photographs just go to prove how beautiful Winter is. XXXX

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I particularly love seeing swans they seem to like the canals around here. There is something beautiful in the starkness of the scenery in winter - and you can see for miles when the leaves aren't on the trees.

      Delete
  5. A wonderful winterstory in words and photos.
    I hear the geese often in the air, in last two weeks they were still flowing over us. I'm often thinking, were is the end of their flow... -

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Mascha. The geese always seem to head for a place where there is water and grazing. I notice that a lot of gulls fly over us, they go to the lake in the day time and fly inland for the night - we see them go the same way every day.

      Delete
  6. Lovely post and pictures. Flighty xx

    ReplyDelete
  7. Love your description of the old farm house and the ducks. We watched greylags flying over the lake today their distinctive sound is so different to the raucous sound the canada geese make but I do love to hear any geese flying over head there is something quite magical about the cries and wing beats:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Rosie. We see plenty of greylags when we visit Norfolk at particular times of the year - hoping to see plenty of them when we go again in March.

      Delete
  8. Lovely words and images. It must be wonderful to look out for the Canada geese every winter - do you have any idea how much the date of their arrival varies from year to year?
    Have a good 2016 - I hope to comment more now that I have worked out that what was often stopping me was my being logged on to my new googlemail account while trying to use a Wordpress identity. Now I log out first.
    All the best :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Pat. I'm afraid I never take note of their arrival but it is always about this time of year that we see them when we visit our local lake. I didn't realise you had a problem commenting, but one or two WP users have said the same.

      Delete
  9. I love the sound of geese.
    After three hours stuck on the M5 this week we eventually had to turn around and find another way home. We ended up on the Somerset Levels. Lots of water around, but so peaceful with many swans gliding across the water. Such a relief after all the traffic.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Very noisy when they get going that's for sure. I don't think the Levels have had as much flooding this year have they - I bet it is lovely round there for peace and quiet.

      Delete
  10. The images of the winter landscape and the geese more than make up for the weather. Really lovely and I too adore the sound of geese.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We try to get out and about as soon as the rain stops which hasn't happened much lately, but you do feel better for it. Thanks for visiting.

      Delete
  11. Such loveliness. We have a pair of Canada geese here, one of them has a damaged wing so they just stay here, the mate sacrificing its northern summer for the sake of love and care.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Sarah. The thought of geese and swans being devoted to one another gladdens the heart.

      Delete
  12. That farmhouse is just beautiful with its comfortable slip in time and age. It's growing old gracefully. Have a wonderful weekend x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The farmhouse has certainly deteriorated since I last saw it - growing old gracefully is a nice way to put it but it definitely needs some tlc.

      Delete
  13. Amazing to see the canal boat up like that for repairs, not a common sight at all! xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes it was a sight to see Amy - glad I had my camera with me.

      Delete
  14. What a walk and what memories it stirred. Looks waterlogged there but very green!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is very soggy underfoot here at the moment but that doesn't stop us getting out and appreciating the stark winter beauty of the season.

      Delete
  15. Birds and words and the sadness of an abandoned old house.

    Lovely.

    Ms Soup

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. May be I gave the wrong impression Ms.Soup the farmhouse wasn't abandoned - just slowly crumbling.

      Delete
  16. I love the story of the old farmhouse, how poignant. Time is a strange thing. Beautiful words and images here. Enjoy the rest of your weekend :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Suzy - I find it strange how the memory works - just seening the farmhouse brought back events which I had completely forgotten about.

      Delete
  17. I'm a Leicestershire-born-and-bred girl and that red brick farmhouse took me straight back to the county of my birth. I have lived in Cornwall since 1986 (wow, 30 years in March!) and no longer make the journey up to my former haunts. I have never regretted moving to magical Cornwall, but I do miss the red brick houses, the big, wide skies and the hares! So many hares that I used to see every morning and afternoon as I accompanied my grandson to and from school each day; they would pause in their 'conversations (up on their hind legs with jaws chewing, just like women gossiping!) as we passed quietly through 'their' field, then resume their chatting as we moved away. Even my collie dog was un-nerved when the hares didn't run away, like what they oughter!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When we first came here there always used to be hares in the back field - alas, no more.

      Delete
  18. Oh Elaine, how I loved that first pic. I've heard geese flying over the farm lately, but don't know if they are headed north or south. The weather has been so weird.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Donna. I love to see geese flying over in formation and the way they honk all the time as if excited to be reaching their destination.

      Delete
  19. Your lovely cool and watery images are a balm for me on this side of the world, upon my parched mountainside. Such wintry beauty. x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We have had our fair share of water this winter that's for sure - I shall be relived when spring and drier weather arrived

      Delete
  20. We have Canada Geese on our local Fleet Pond, and they seem to be present most of the time these days. Usually we see big Vees of them forming up to fly out for their foraging expeditions, but I wasn't aware of them this past Autumn. The mild weather must have affected their behaviour patterns.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Geese are noisy birds aren't they? But the noises in nature are more bearable than man made ones however load they are. Thank you for taking us on this walk with you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's a definite yes - I don't know what it is that sets them off - squabbling amongst themselves I suppose but it is a sound that. I look forward to hearing.

      Delete
  22. I am so curious about the old farm house. Does anyone live there? Love the swan photo. I loves swans. probably because we don't have them there, not in the wild. Canada geese? Year round for some. But northern Colorado is their winter play ground. Thousands come. You mentioned that they talk to each other in flight. I once read that they encourage the lead goose who after her tires drops to the bak of the V and the next goose takes lead. They also mate for live. I hope you find this comment way down here at the bottom. I am late this week.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The old farmhouse is lived in Ann there was a Christmas tree in the window but the building is in a bad state of disrepair. I have heard that too about the lead goose it sounds a good thing to do to give it encouragement as it tires.

      Delete
  23. The sound of geese flying over is one of my favourite sounds as it reminds me of my childhood in Norfolk. Even now when I'm at my parents I like to go and stand outside and listen to them returning to the coast at dusk.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh yes it definitely reminds me of Norfolk where there are more than enough geese to go round.

      Delete
  24. No Canada geese flying overhead here although there are passing ducks. I think that I may have said it before Elaine but you have some lovely countryside seemingly on your doorstep. I'm most envious. Hope that you are enjoying the weekend.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes Anna we do have plenty of lovely countryside surrounding us and plenty more that we have yet to explore.

      Delete
  25. Your descriptive words make this walk so special. Last weekend we took an image of the Canadian geese sharing a field with heifers. We used to have them flying over our home for a few months. I realised I have forgotten and missed this view and sound. Sarah x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Sarah. So glad the post evoked a memory for you.

      Delete
  26. Dear Elaine - I think your walk was wonderful friend. We have Canadian Geese here too. They don't all leave when winter arrives and for that I am grateful. Looks to me though like your weather is just a tad better than ours. We have turned quite cold - snowy and blustery today. So it was very nice to visit you in your lovely part of the world. Hope you have a great week.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Debbie. We were expecting flurries of snow or sleet this week but as I look out of the window the sun is shining and the sky is clear blue - although a tad cold. The garden is still dormant although a few bulbs are pushing through a little early but the ground is still heavy with all the rain that we have had. Enjoy your week my friend.

      Delete
  27. I often wonder what goes on in the minds of my felines -- and now, I wonder about swan dreams ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I guess all animals must dream, cats dream of chasing anything that moves, leaping at butterflies and growling at birds; swans dream of the subterranean depths, seeing through the murk and gloom, of finding succulent weed and seeing their children grow from ugly ducklings into fine swans. I thought everyone knew this - haha!!!

      Delete
  28. What a lovely walk, I enjoyed hearing about your ducks, shame about the fox though, twenty years seems like nothing looking back....sighs, why does time go so fast.
    How true about Canada geese, you do always hear them before you see them! What a great sight they are though. I love the pics of the mysterious little lake, I would enjoy exploring there.
    Every time I see a canal I miss my boat, your pics had me remembering it....and missing the swans, I love your pic of them, and of that fabulous piggy picky!xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree - time goes past in the blink of an eye - the older you get, the quicker it goes, that's for sure. I always think of you when we walk the canals, boating seems such a peaceful way to pass the time, chugging downstream.

      Delete
  29. Most of our geese fly off as the cold runs aground and snow covers the cornfields. I often wonder where they go. Now I know. I recognize some of those fellas gaggling along your lucious green hills. Next time you see them say hey and remind them to keep a lookout for foxes.

    So kind of you to include us on your stroll.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Ah! I wondered where they came from - now I know! Next time I see them I will say that you asked after them. Thanks for visiting.

    ReplyDelete
  31. So enjoyed that walk with you, through your blog. So soothing. You are very lucky to have such lovely countryside on your doorstep.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Annie for your kind words.

      Delete
  32. Hi Elaine. Your writing and photos are so atmospheric and conjure up the spirit of place and time. They convey a sense of stillness. I have followed your blog for a while and enjoyed it immensely - I hope to comment more frequently. there are many swans on the flooded fields here in Somerset.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Sue - thank you for your kind comment - glad you enjoy my posts - I will visit your blog and see what you are up to.

      Delete
  33. Oh, what a lovely walk.
    Just love those first photo's of the Canada Geese.

    The weather has turned very chilly so there is a need to dress warmly for any walks over the coming weekend I think!

    All the best Jan

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Jan. I agree the weather has turned chilly but oh so much more pleasant than the grey and dreary weather we have had of late. Have a great weekend.

      Delete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

the rise of the apple and the fall of the oak ...

Down to Earth ...

the sweet calm sunshine of September ...