Wednesday, 25 April 2012
Today, having been ill with a 24-hour bug, I forgot to take a box of eggs down the hill to Mair until 9pm.
The walk down couldn't have been more different to last week. This week I walked in rainy dark, not sun. And I thought of all the times I have walked up and down this hill in the 11 years I have lived at Halfway Up A Hill. I have walked in sun, in rain, in wind, in snow, by moonlight and in pitch dark. I have walked at dawn, and midday, and afternoon, at twilight and at night. I have walked in spring and summer and autumn and winter.
This evening it was still just light enough not to need the torch I took with me. Rain streaming off the fields ran down the edges of the road. Bareheaded, I enjoyed the sensation of raindrops on my hair. The only sound was falling rain, and the rushing of the swollen stream. No owls, no foxes, even the sheep were silent in the fields. Accompanied only by the bats swooping overhead. The smell of rain and woodsmoke. Down in the valley the few street lights glowed orange; the headlights of an occasional car swept along the road. Across the hills, the scattered lights of surrounding farms. Back up this hill, only the warm glow of lights at Halfway Up a Hill are visible.
Isn't this one of the ways we connect with the spirit of a place? By repeating a journey, an action, a chore, week after week so that we experience the place in all its many moods and modes? I am envious of the people whose families have walked these hills for generations. I imagine a bone-deep knowledge of the land. My own relationship with this land will never have those accumulated ages of connection. But I approach the spirit of this place in friendship, with respect and openness. And as I open to Her, she opens to me and reveals Her many layers. Like any relationship, work, patience and understanding are required. But the rewards are well worth it.
Monday, 23 April 2012
Last night I dreamed that a heron flew above me, scattering blue-grey feathers like magical gifts in my path.
This morning, as I travelled through the rain-blurred river valley, a pair of herons wheeled gracefully overhead, before disappearing into the trees...
Sometimes the line between dreaming and waking seems fine as spidersilk...
Wednesday, 11 April 2012
The early evening sun is slanting golden rays across the fields as I walk down the lane to take my neighbour Mair her weekly box of eggs. Lambs bleat at me through the hedge as I pass by. They have grown quickly, already they are half the size of their mothers.
Each week I walk down with a box of eggs for Mair; each week the changing seasons have something new to show me. Today there is a sharp chill in the wind, but there is bright sunshine and blue sky. Shy violets purple the bank of the stream. The daffodils are all but finished, now there are celandines and windflowers and soon there will be bluebells. In the hedge, the exuberant froth of blackthorn blossoms contrasts with stark black thorny twigs. the new hawthorn leaves are such a vivid green, the very essence of spring rebirth. The smooth grey limbs of the ash tree glow in the light of the setting sun.
I listen to the bird song, hoping to hear the happy chatter of swallows, but not yet. Soon, soon, those joyously swooping spirits of summer will return. But not yet.
Savouring the sights, scents and sounds, I walk slowly down the hill - and even more slowly back up again. It is steep, and even after living here 11 years I am still rendered breathless by the time I return to my own gate.
Now I wander down to the geese. Buffy and her new beau Spike have been wandering all day by the greenhouse, feasting on the tender spring grass there. Now I shut them safely back in their pen before twilight - and any peckish foxes in the vicinity - descend. Then I make my way back up to the house through the vegetable patch, noting with satisfaction the profusion of golden cowslips in the flower bed by the compost heap. The apple tree is just starting to come into leaf, and soon the flowering cherry will be putting on her show stopping display of fairytale pink blossom.
In the dark days of winter I longed for spring. And now it is here and passing all too quickly. It is good to take a little time out to fully appreciate the onrush of spring. It is lucky Mair expects her box of eggs each week. It's the perfect opportunity to stroll down the lane, sniffing violets and listening for swallows and keeping an eye open for the first bluebells...
Sunday, 8 April 2012
Pic: copyright Jackie Morris
If you go to this page, you will find details of a couple of wonderful giveaways from the extremely talented Jackie Morris that you could win....
Of course, my reasons for posting this are not wholly altruistic, as you will see. I want it, I want it! *crosses fingers and wishes*