Winter sleep

New snow blankets a wall

which is the summer home

of one of the garden slow worms.

And right now, somewhere deep

in hidden parts of the garden

slow worms are curled up,

hibernating.

Do they switch off like a computer

one cool day in autumn

and switch back on in spring,

unaware of the passing of time?

Or do they slumber,

conscious of the seeping cold,

burrowing further below rocks,

pulling leaves over like a duvet

before sinking deeper into winter sleep?

And do they dream?

Snowdrops

Snowdrops punctuate the January gloom.

Each year I am lifted by

this ordinary miracle.

I wrote this a few years ago. This year the snowdrops are even more welcome than usual.

Lockdown Days

I bob along on a stream of days

which blend and blur and

disappear

into the past.

Days without shape.

My normally tight grasp

on the calendar

slips,

and I am prone to moments

of disorientation,

wondering

‘Should I be working today?’

‘Am I supposed to be in a meeting right now?’

‘What exactly did I do last weekend?’

The future is full of haze and mirage,

the horizon obscured by fog.

More than ever,

the only thing that seems real

is this one

peaceful

ever present

moment.

Seeds

A parcel I ordered arrived today

full of vegetable seeds

and hope.


I am enjoying planning what I am going to grow this year and really looking forward to planting those seeds. Not yet though, it’s too cold. 🌨️

Word of the year

Have you seen those blog posts

suggesting that you find

an inspiring word

for the year ahead?

So far, all I can think of is

‘hibernate’.

It would be nice to sleep

until spring this year!

Signs of the light returning

The first few

white buds

of snowdrops

emerge

from frozen ground,

as lengthening

hazel catkins bring

a touch of yellow

to the hedgerows.

The evening stretches out

just a little,

and on those days when

winter cold recedes

slightly,

the birds sing

a different song,

louder,

livelier,

a prelude to spring.


It takes a while after the shortest day before I start to notice the light returning, reflected in the first few snowdrops and the changes in birdsong.

Snow, frost and silvery light have been a feature of my local walks recently. Now we are back in lockdown I’m walking the same local routes daily, and feeling grateful to live in such a beautiful part of the world.

A summer memory

This new painting was inspired by my garden, which was a sanctuary during the last lockdown.

The garden is not quite so inviting now in the wind and rain, but it’s still full of autumn colour and wildlife.

I hope this brings some colour and a memory of warm summer sun into your day!

It took a while to paint, I started at the beginning of September when these colourful flowers were still blooming, and finished last week. It got interrupted by a painting of pikachu for my nephew.

Pikachu is on his way to New Zealand. He’s taking his time, I think the post is slow because of the pandemic. I’m hoping he hasn’t got lost and that my nephew likes him when he finally arrives!

Garden meditation

No need to remember a technique,

fire up an app

or take a class.

Just go into the garden

and do what needs to be done.

A bit of weeding,

tidying the greenhouse,

watering tomatoes and cucumbers,

(there is always something

that needs attention).

Simply do the work,

at its own pace.

When the time is right,

find a spot to rest,

perhaps with a cup of tea.

Thoughts come,

(summer fresh butterflies dance between flowers)

thoughts go,

(there are a lot of dewy cobwebs around)

thoughts come,

(the asters are starting to flower)

thoughts go,

(I can still hear the swallows).

If these stones could talk

‘Cloth ears’, my mum used to call me

when I got selectively deaf about an instruction,

or when I was absorbed with my nose in a book.

‘Oi, cloth ears!’. I’m talking to you.’

And it’s only recently I realized

where the phrase came from.

Mill workers, deafened by the roar of machinery ,

young ears, damaged beyond repair,

cotton cloth in exchange for hearing.

I am thinking of all this

as I trudge up the steep slopes of Ingleborough

on a path made of old stone slabs

taken, I’m told, from the local mills

when they closed down,

repurposed, protecting

feet from bog, and bog from feet.

For a moment my feet

connect with those

who trod these stones

over a century ago.

Day after day,

year after year,

toiling at the loom.

The wind sighs and a raven croaks,

the path twists through a soundscape,

that they could only imagine.

If these stones could talk
The path up Ingleborough
A view from the top
Looking towards home