The clouds dispersed to reveal the estuary
domed with blue.
A cold north wind blowing
but in the shelter of a hedge
the sun felt warm, springlike
and the first frogspawn in a ditch.
The rising, full moon high tide paused
at the outer edge of the saltmarshes
where the birds gathered;
curlew, oystercatcher, redshank.
Then the sea quietly,
relentlessly, marched on over the marshes
scattering birds, forming islands of green
that gradually disappeared underwater.
A stream of sea pushed in past our feet
to the railway embankment
signalling the time to leave
this inbetween place
to the sea and sky
and the birds.
Weather and circumstance have conspired recently to keep my walks short
but today I was out for hours.
And now I am weary, that lovely tiredness of the body;
heavy limbs and aching muscles
thankful for a day outside
in the sun and frost.
Mind relaxed, soul nourished
by the long views of the fells and the sea,
clear blue skies and the orange glow of bracken.
Lungs full of fresh air,
I’ll sleep well tonight.
I went for a walk at the weekend in one of my favourite places in the world. Through woods and along the shore of Lake Windermere.
Walking for an hour or so, admiring the trees silhouetted against the silvery surface of the lake, late afternoon winter sunlight lighting up the trunks in shades of orange. Ancient sweet chestnuts, deeply fissured bark spiraling upwards, the same trees where as a child I used to gather chestnuts with my grandparents. Past the cathedral column trunks of huge Douglas fir, forest floor dotted with ferns. And always the gentle background lapping of water on the shore, and the breeze in the trees
Walking through layers of memories, yet alive to the present moment; that leaf, that pattern of branches against the sky, the low angled sun on the root plate of a fallen tree.
The sun set early, only a few weeks from the winter solstice. Leaving behind a silvery sky to match the lake. And the moon, rising above an old farmhouse, the smell of woodsmoke in the air.
Just an hour or so in a place I love. Sustenance for the whole week.
The power of place.
A landscape of the soul.