It’s bright with a nip in the air. We decide on a morning stroll? Choosing one of the “Rivendell Rounds” the name given to the walks we can take from the door. We can hear the sound of trees being felled and about 500 yards from home we find the local farmer has cut down 3 healthy ash trees and has started on the oaks on the opposite side of the road. Heartbroken I watch then feed branches into the shredder reducing a beautiful tree to woodchip in minutes! I feel broken inside! A feeling I just cannot put into words. I could understand if the trees were dangerous or a problem but rooks , squirrels, wood pigeons and tawny owls roost there! I’m sad and angry.
Listening : Spaceship ” fields,churches & rivers”
Today I am out in my favourite wood a mile or so from home .l’ve packed lunch and my painting gear .The need to be away from the madness of the world is overwhelming. I sense a familiar warmth of welcome in the seemingly nondescript woodlands . The trees are whispering in the breeze and more than a few leaves have made the short descent to the ground . No noise. Not even a bird.
I am sat a the trunk of an ivy clad ash tree with small beech saplings nearby . Sunlight dapples the woodland floor! Peace. I paint and leave the small canvases to their fate.
Listening : Pefkin “liminal rites”
Out on the edgelands/border with Staffordshire with our great pals Steve and Carole. We explore the stillness of Beresford Dale and Wolfescott Dale. Climbing up the very steep Gypsy Bank we are greeted by fantastic views. Taking a little known trackway we find ourselves at the ancient barrow at Pea Low. After sandwiches and tea we head towards Narrow Dale saddened by the pile of rubbish and a half burned sheep carcass left by the land owner. The ancients left us traces of their history in the landscape to wonder about. We just leave our unwanted detritus. The old trail of Narrowdale greets us .Old Waymarker stones are now incorporated into the walls.Overhead a gang of jackdaws hassle a buzzard.Back at the car park fly fishermen are packing up their tackle. A great day.
Listening : Mark Isham “Tibet”
After a busy few days we took an early evening stroll through Chatsworth Park to see an illuminated sculpture on show there. It was one of those magical Autumn evenings after a beautiful day . Still and quiet. Dusk fell quickly and the trees soon became silhouetted against the darkening sky. We could hear the primal growl/bark of a Red Deer echo in the air before realising he was closer than we realised. There he was just above us serene and majestic advising us to make our way home and leave the park for him to rule over. I thanked him for allowing me to take his photograph before moving off without looking back. A special moment!
Our visiting friend Maarit from Helsinki will soon be heading home so it seemed prudent to visit Arbor Low with her as she has fallen in love with the ancient Peak District. The Spirits blessed us with a magnificent afternoon just perfect for an intervention to honour the arrival of October. Our companions were a large gathering of Rooks who were feasting on a nearby freshly harrowed field. Arguing and bickering the would explode into the sky like living graffiti before settling back down to feed.
Arbor Low! I packed peanut butter,bananna and honey sarnies ,loaded up with sketchbook and drawing materials and headed off. A glorious day. Walking up to the ancient stones the wind was humming through the now yellowing grasses.Overhead the clouds were chasing each other southwards.I dine at Gib Hill looking west.Totally alone I wander back to the stone circle and lay out on the centre stone watching the sky. To my amazement and joy I am treated to a 15 minute natural psychedelic light show in the form of an elongated ” Corona”. My breath is taken away by this amazing experience. My photos in no way are able to reflect the wonder of this experience!
Listening : Mark Isham “TIBET”.
Our evening walk is a bit of a ritual.”let’s go see the owl”.Sadly the owl, a Barn Owl , no longer lives in the dilapidated barn about a mile away. Now where abouts unknown I fear the worst. Sometimes at dusk we do encounter a pair of Little Owls .This evening the sunset is almost beyond description once again. Purple,pink and then a fiery orange the whole sky seems on fire and then gone. Nature is always speaking to us ,calling us to wonder but all too often we are just not listening.
There is a light drizzle as we set out and the surrounding hills are shrouded in low cloud. This only adds to the atmosphere and place.The breeze is warm and I feel hot under my coat.Two buzzards are worried by carrion crows while a kestrel has no luck finding his lunch. The pastures have been re-seeded since our Spring time walk here. Now the land holds a flock of gulls including a large immature Black Backed gull. I reflect on the fact that years ago the fields here were full of Lapwings and you could watch their chicks in the grass. No Lapwings now sadly.I kind of wish the gulls would clear off back to the coast! The cloud cover clears to the West and the sun peeks through and the land lightens. There are more gulls and a pair of Pied Wagtails at the small mere. We fill our lungs with the fresh air and listen to the wind in the trees.
Listening : Pefkin ” last rays of summer”
Maarit ( my artist friend visiting from Finland) is longing to go up high so myself ,Sue and Maarit head out to Curbar Edge. The day is perfect and there are quite a few walkers and day trippers around. We make friends with a Wheatear who hangs around us for a while, there are Kestrels,Buzzards and the usual Corvid clan . You can see for miles in all directions , the view North towards Stanage is dramatic. I have brought my Equinox painting inspired by Julia Hüilsman’s great album “The End of Summer” . My plan is for the picture to interact with the landscape, a favourite occupation of mine along with photographer Billy Bye who was not able to accompany us today. We pick a few blackberries and move on to Fox House and the Surprise View. Can there be a more beautiful place to be . We cannot resist an ice cream – why not !!
On my own today ,I make cheese and pickle sandwiches and head off for Magpie Mine. The ghosts of the old miners hang in the mid September breeze and I am filled with a sense of melancholy.The sky is a huge canopy of blue. Clouds drift along dappling the far Western horizon with sunlight. Silence apart from a handful of Rooks haggling over something unknown. I wander around for a while before heading home.
A Broken Consort “Crow Autumn”.