1 January 2018
In gusts and tumbles late night party goers seeking a way home the rain rolls across the land and sky uncertain of its route or destination. Sometimes great drops beating on roofs and skylights and overflowing gutters; or fine knife edged horizontal shards hurtling at face and fur; then silent calm and the gentle murmurings of a river that awaits the surge.
2 January 2018
River is flowing fleet and fulsome; not over-flowing or overblown but full replete and fat, comfortably fat; water pressed up to banks not wallowing in turnings but racing through the swirls and turns and hairpins; some pauses in pools beyond the banks that only fill as water rises; most speeds up and races round building standing spirals that become slow-motion tumbles.
3 January 2018
Wind is boisterous rumbling grumbling gusting in little spurts; never seeming to decide whether to huff and puff and blow the world about or settle to a quieter mood; an adolescent who cannot relax into the day but must struggle to find a place that fits.
4 January 2018
A mighty storm may rage above but leaves are rotting underfoot as water falls from trees and rises from beneath. Whilst trees are blown about their wet leaves of autumn are stuck to muddy earth and more damp leaves; slowly losing their individuality as cells break down; insects and grubs arrive to feed and fungi run tendrils in between them to extract the goodness.
5 January 2018
Out in the wood there is a wild rose that hangs against a tree its barbarous thorns preventing it from falling. It offers a solitary red rose hip holding colour up to the world where dull browns of tree and leaf and water predominate against a mix of greens most as dull and dormant as the browns.
6 January 2018
Beneath autumn’s dull brown breaking winterising debris, between the flakes of leaves that still hold their shape, greens appear as the flotsam of the year is sifted by the insects. Not the acid greens of high spring or the deep pallete of hot summer but the cooler and yet darker greens that hold more than they glow; hold life dormant waiting for the warmth and light.
7 January 2018
I wonder if Satan himself must have visited heaven last night to explain the volume of angels’ tears falling on the land. Swirling and whirling down the river filling faster than they go; rising on the land as the soil can absorb no more; and the earth itself begins to crumble from the onslaught.
8 January 2018
The sun has pulled the clouds apart and let out what little warmth there was. Now cold, it shines on puddles, thin mirrors to the sky; it shines on the silt rich waters of the river; and it shines on mud that glistens to a wondrous gold.
9 January 2018
The pre-dawn blue reveals a team of red-eyed Cyclops’ just beyond the hills; silent in the gentle wind their slow moving arms turn in the air. I know they cannot move but despite the hills and the line of trees there is a semblance of Great Birnam Wood come to Dunsinane.
10 January 2018
The ground is heavy with water that cannot escape to streams and rivers cannot evaporate into the cold air and cannot get grass or trees to take more than the merest smidgen; it is a weight upon the earth that needs a stronger Atlas to lift it up.
11 January 2018
Bright sun slices across the landscape belying the chill and cold that still warns of Winter; a distant horse snorts a cloud into the air; and birds that twitter from bush and branch speak of a Spring that is not yet here.
12 January 2018
Amongst the understory dogs’ noses rummage; between the twigs broken on the ground and midst leaves steeped by wind and chance; under bushes and within the maelstrom of wild grown sloe and bramble stems; and at waters’ edges still and moving where spaces meet and there is magic at the margins.
13 January 2018
The clouds are writing fables across the sky; sagas of heroines and slaves; puffed white pillows and bloodied sheets; yarns of lovers and of the lost; shades of greys on greys in stunning layers; stories of depth and meaning; blues from the palest of powder to the deep dark sea; tales of times past and times that will never be.
14 January 2018
In wind it is that walnuts discard their unwanted members their weaker brethren. There is a branch bent low and upon it lies a higher one that fell in Winter abandoned and rejected disdained and disregarded; the lower still attached will receive sap in Spring, the higher no sustenance will know; the only nourishment its sibling’s arms supporting it before perhaps it too breaks.
15 January 2018
A chill wind gusts between the trees dulling senses; so much so a squirrel dark red and almost black oblivious to our presence has begun to cross the path before us. Old dog watches knowingly. Young dog leaps to attack teeth snapping on flying tail as the squirrel begins to move; across the earth and up a tree flying rat crosses back above us from branch to bough; pauses to check us out then disappears amongst the twigs.
16 January 2018
A deer preceded us along the path today unseen and probably long gone into the dawn. Its footsteps will hold for a brief while in the wet earth impressed into ours of various yesterdays; the damp and drizzle will dissolve them whether we tread them into ours again or not.
17 January 2018
From out of the topmost twigs of a tree a buzzard seemed to fall as if plummeting like a stone or stooping like a kestrel; then wings unfurled to either side the fall arrested and a long glide began crossing field and hedge; a single flap of wings enough to rise above the brow of hills; and it was gone.
18 January 2018
Hours of mist gently settling on the trees and a mizzling morning means more water dripping from the branches than from the sky but not much of that. Even the hens are reluctant to come out into the damp despite the cockerel’s urgent cries to encourage them. Only the duck is oblivious and steps out looking for food.
19 January 2018
Frost lies between the blades of grass; the earth whitened the green protruding and the edges sharp; almost as sharp as the boundaries of suburban lawns imprisoned by the paving slabs and tarmac. They intrude upon me and draw edges where I am not expecting them; lines that feel unnaturally straight and planned; enforcing order around a rectangle of grass the essence of which is disordered.
20 January 2018
Sky as grey as only England can deliver. And rain. I wonder if that grey of English skies that seems to go on relentlessly forever is just a feature of the landscape and the climate; or is a factor of the people stubborn solid and unmoving. And perhaps it is not out there but in here and only manifests when I breathe this air.
21 January 2018
Snow falls and tries to wrap the ground in swaddling blankets nursing the blades of grass; earth breathes warmth to melt the snow. For hours the balance roves back and forth maintaining a thin white sliver between soil and air; and finally on roofs of tile the snow finds purchase and relinquishes the tussle with the earth.
22 January 2018
Despite the familiarity turning the corner and seeing the packed road of cars that seem to do no more than rush past is always disconcerting. For a moment it takes me away from my feet already aware of the flat hardness of tarmac and pavement; craving as they do for softened mud uneven ground and the companionship of morning dogs.
23 January 2018
Concrete pavement and tarmac roadway; steel rail and drizzle; the packing of humanity that loses most of its humanity as the packing tightens upon itself; a flock that fails to communicate wing to wing murmuring across the sky and finding the best for all but crushes against those who hold ground and growls with mumbled anger and resentment punctuated with strangled cries of annoyance and frustration.
24 January 2018
Returning to ground soft and undulating my legs give thanks. My foot presses an acorn into the mud; a time capsule, nature’s messenger emblazoned on its side in golden fiery letters – this is oak. Will the winter dampness rot it in its earthy tomb; will sufficient warmth of spring percolate through and let it germinate and grow, only to be sliced off by deer or broken by a casual passer-by; or will it survive flourish and mature and in an hundred years look down from lofty heights the lord and mistress of all around.
25 January 2018
There is earth and sky but in reality the day is little but ground softening river filling rain. Relentless and wet building in the culverts and puddling on the land as if the rain was intent on taking over all the world and washing it to a new cleanliness.
26 January 2018
Water is receding but the ground is sodden squeezing up from under my boots and between the dogs’ toes. Mud, glorious mud. Water is being cleared downstream by the river and evaporated upwards into a glorious sunlit fog that will disappear within the hour.
27 January 2018
Mist sits close to the ground holding in the night chill; all is still; water is on the cusp of freezing but even though it will not be seen today the sun will not let that happen. Our little valley will hold this haze and soften all the world whilst the cold attempts to harden it.
28 January 2018
Rhubarb sprouting tight red and white tips of new stalks; fresh leaves growing ripe with spring leaves that have been dipped in an acid bath striping out all but the most virulent pungent pale green. They stand out against the background of browns and dull dank dark greens offering promises for the months to come.
29 January 2018
Mist thick and palpable in unmoving air so will not be clearing anytime soon. In the space of a breath it can seem as ephemeral as gossamer floating on the faintest breeze or as thick and inert as a politician too enamoured of his own voice; both magical and mundane; a medium that offers a multiplicity of means.
30 January 2018
There is birdsong in the air; small bird sounds an ounce or three of fluff; a sense of something building in the cool morning air. Blades of this and leaves of that stand out as colours change; occasionally new but mostly from within as autumn’s growth prepares to lead the rite of Spring. It is a slow beginning that will become a galloping rout and we will never be sure when it switched from one to other.
31 January 2018
Like minature foetuses some acorns struggle on the ground for life. These were not gently pressed into soft nutritious loam not stored in some forgotten squirrellean nest warm and moist and safe. Not eaten by some winter scavenger nor crushed by some passing inconsiderate. Knowing this is their solitary and last hurrah they strive to twist their root into the earth. That bridge to the world of soil could be the difference between two hundred years of life or rotting on the forest floor.