Sunday, 20 December 2015
in search of winter
local woodland this December
We're caught in a mild spell, in many parts of England. Yesterday it was so warm I could have gone for a walk with no coat. I pegged my washing in the garden and noted (sadly) green fly on the hellebore flowers that grow in a pot by our kitchen door....
A place that inspires me is our local parkland and woodland - there is no deep forest to get lost in but there are patches of wooded areas and these I like very much. At this time of year I had hoped to go walking with my camera and take photographs of frost on bark, ice on leaf - perhaps a snowy blanket across the park view. But it is not to be. Yesterday I went walking and found myself in a place of bare trees and lush green. The moss is thick, the grass thicker. It is very muddy - swampy in places. To be honest, it's taken me a while to get used to just walking by myself, where no one else is, with maybe at times only one or two other people appearing. For a while it felt odd to be so alone (suburban-anxiety perhaps). Though I like to walk with company and sometimes do, I think I like just taking my own route. I have come to enjoy my solitary walks as a time for thinking and noting the details of the landscape. If at first I might have even pretended I had a dog (who had just wandered off into the thicket), I now am a bit more relaxed about taking my time, being where I am and seeing things. There are days I take my camera and days I am just walking. Yesterday it was so mild I should have visited with a picnic and a good book.
Things I noted in the woodland: thick mosses, swampy mud, trodden in autumn leaves. There are red berries on some holly but not on all holly. Any spectacular seed heads have now been blown to oblivion by near-constant windy weather. The streams are thriving but not too full. There are fat buds on a few trees. Not especially wintry at all.
If the weather cannot provide a little glitter - then I have made my own, simply:
There are many dried fern leaves about - so I have painted them with silver and separated the individual frond pieces. These are displayed in a small handmade bowl, a bowl I made some years ago.
Meanwhile, I am keeping a winter sketchbook. So I can at least remember and imagine a winter that feels perhaps a little more wintry....