We are sitting quietly at Stoke Flat Stone Circle. Whispered prayers of peace float on the warm September breeze . It is a ” moment” for just “being”.TheAutumn Equinox is just a couple of days away.Sun and Moon both in the blue sky.
I sketch a couple of watercolours.
Back home we have tea and cake. Above our heads the local Rooks nag each other floating on the thermals. A couple of dozen starlings fly backwards and forwards seemingly uncertain of what to do.
I work on a couple of landscapes and choose Arvo Parts ” the Deers Cry” to accompany the low shafts of sunlight. Later the sky is a pale orange before the half moon rises.
Midway through August a sense of the end of Summer seemed to arrive early.By the first week of September the sun had receded further South and the light was changing. There were blackberries . Walking to the “owl” we chatted about the sadness we felt that both the Barn Owl and now the Little Owls no longer seemed to inhabit the barn we lovingly called “the Owl” . Standing on the “magic bench ” we looked North West feeling just a chill in the air.
The Swallows swooped restlessly over the fields probably dreaming of North Africa.
I walked to Bateman’s House. The river Lathkil was dry. Sitting to eat lunch I was aware of complete silence.No bird calls no wind and no longer the babbling brook.
I decided to walk the dry river bed .walking I wondered about the minnows bullheads and sticklebacks.where are the watervoles? Everything seemed different from the river bed.beautiful colours.mosses , leaves , and trees .Silence.
Overnight snow continued into the day so undeterred we donned our gear and headed out on our favourite walk after a hearty breakfast. After a while the snow turned to rain yet we felt really invigorated in the wintery conditions .In the fields the sheep looked fed up and were showing signs that lambing will soon begin. Only Rooks and Carrion Crows braved the day, robins flitted in and out of the hawthorn.Soaked but happy we arrived home for a late lunch .
Two days never the same .A glorious ramble towards Howden moor one day followed by gothic folk horror mists two days later. The wonder is that both have a beauty of their own . Everything seems inspirational. The wonderful huge skies of the moors and the experience of a Buzzard emerging from the mists on the high peak trail at dusk. Magical Times!
Christmas flew by. December brought us snow and ice and the Winter Solstice.My residency at Isla Fine Art continues to be a success with more sales.A lovely suprise. Dusk walks are spectacular as well.A fine end to the year was completed with an expedition with my buddy Billy Bye…
In the last few years I have become more appreciative of the weeks leading up to the winter solstice. Wrapping yourself in the shorter days and longer nights ,paying attention to the movement of the sun and the sharpness of the light on the land ,letting the icy winds ,snow and rain invigorate the spirit and change the mindset. Watching flocks of starlings dance in the grey skies, noticing the redwings and fieldfares dash from tree to tree .Being enthralled by the incredible dawn and beautiful sunsets. Enjoying the activities at the bird feeder over coffee , evening walks under glittering skies ,the sound of owls calling outside the window in the dead of night.The silent lands waits sometimes snow covered, bare trees etched against the leaden skies while clouds hurry across the horizon. Homemade soup ,quiet music ,quiet spirit. The world is in waiting. It is so easy to wish away these times but if we keep in step with nature and still ourselves there is much benefit for our well being. Easy to say ,harder to do .Keep a fire burning if you are fortunate to have a hearth ,let candlelight bless you, the year will soon be turning.The seeds of creativity and energy are quietly germinating in the dark. The Winter Solstice and Yuletide will soon be on us.
Listening : Jeff Pearce ” from the darker season”. George Winston “December” .Jim Ghedi “Hymn for Ancient Land”
We are on the High Peak Trail .A gale is storming in over the Staffordshire moorlands.Spots of icy rain sting the cheeks bringing a wonderful sense of exhilaration and joy . Everything is alive in the wake of these strong winds that whip our coats and seek to rip off our hoods.Now and then the morning sun rips a gash in wind driven clouds .Shafts of light resembling search lights illuminate the horizon. Being in the presence of the power of nature brings such freedom. We laugh and watch a gathering of Rooks and jackdaws who seem to be playing in the sky. The wind swirls them up and down.They ride the storm calling “raak” and “Jack Jack” in what appears to be absolute joy.(Life lesson ! When the storms come ride them don’t fight them ? Easy to say hard to do). The birds swoop and swirl as we watch.Wonderful stuff in the Peak District.