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Some musings from my nature diaries ... timeless moments.
I’ve travelled the ways of Richard Jefferies much of my life - even before reading the Story of my Heart in my mid teens - I went for long solitary walks in the fields and woods, on hills and downs and by the rivers and lakes, of ‘Jefferies Land’ - seeking solace in nature; questing the nature of the universe, and ‘sun life’.
a fish jumps … through
Lost in thought on a little wooden bridge, leading to an old church, on an island - in a small secluded lake.
My path was set ...
The lake regularly hosted small numbers of common waterfowl, including wintering Tufted Duck and Pochard; breeding Little and Great Crested Grebe and Mute Swan. I spent many happy hours just watching.
dancing sunbeams …
fox trots away
I often got lost in thought - daydreaming maybe - but time meant nothing. I lived for those moments - I live in these moments.
I was utterly alone with the sun and the earth. Lying down on the grass, I spoke in my soul to the earth, the sun, the air, and the distant sea far beyond sight. I thought of the earth's firmness---I felt it bear me up; through the grassy couch there came an influence as if I could feel the great earth speaking to me. I thought of the wandering air---its pureness, which is its beauty; the air touched me and gave me something of itself. ...
A much quoted passage from the Story of My Heart, that I carry with me through life.
Walking down our lane, in spring this last year, the soft ‘peep’ of Bullfinch comes from the overhanging ash, jangling still with a few bunches of rusty keys. Dunnock and Robin play hide and seek flitting in and out of the lane side hedges. Blackbird explode out of the hedge ahead - ‘chinking’. A Wren ‘churrs’ testily from moss covered stones, part fallen from the bank. And wagtail ‘chissick’ restlessly on the field gate.
The white snowfall of Blackthorn everywhere - a real Blackthorn Winter. In almost thirty years since we’ve been here I don’t remember a time when there has been so much.
I stop and look out over the marshy fields. It was here one evening that we saw a Short Eared Owl hunting. A rare sighting. And one early spring morning before the mist was burnt off by the sun, a Red Kite.
distant bellsStonechats too one spring on some wasteground. It’s still too early for the Sedge Warbler.
a red kite rises
And then the Swift came - just a few - on the 12 May - almost always to the day ...
their name … across
the summer sky
This year the bright yellow Gorse flowers are at their best, now, in early Spring although they stay in flower most of the year, hence the saying ‘When gorse is out of bloom, kissing is out of season’. When the sun shines bright, the flowers smell of a heady aroma of coconut and vanilla.
A Raven calls from overhead chasing off an interloping crow. They nest in the pines atop the hill fort, just as their ancestors did in Roman times. And seven Magpie fly over - what secrets do they hold!
Nothing has changed in thirty years. Probably nothing has changed in over fifty or maybe even a hundred years, or more ... the Churchyard Yews some 2000 years old.
As Richard Jefferies wrote ...
Hawthorn and Blackthorn, Ash and Willow, with their varied hues of green in spring, Briar and Bramble, with Blackberries and Hips later on, are still there as in the old, old time ...
To end this post an all time favourite song of mine - a timeless folk rock classic from Sandy Denny ...
Songwriter: Sandy Denny
Who Knows Where the Time Goes lyrics © Fairwood Music (Uk) Ltd., Winckler
Written while she was still in her teens it has withstood the test of time and has been covered by countless other artists, perhaps most famously, by Judy Collins.
Emotion in art is often triggered by a sense of nostalgia, and one small, yet effective way of introducing this into landscape paintings is to include symbols of yesteryear. In this pastel my Mum has included the old farm gate with a repaired bit of stone walling - it’s late Spring but already the foxgloves are flowering - a timeless study.
One of the last paintings she did, in pastel, in which I think she had found her ideal medium.