The Quiescent Landscape

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‘Heartwood’, Bradgate Park, Leicestershire

Winter Song


Wilfred Owen

The browns, the olives, and the yellows died

And were swept up to heaven; where they glowed

Each dawn and set of sun til Christmastide,

And when the land lay pale for them, pale-snowed,

Fell back, and down the snow drifts flames and flowed.

From off your face, into the winds of winter,

The sun-brown and the summer-gold are blowing;

But they shall gleam with spiritual glitter,

When paler beauty on your brows falls snowing,

And through those snows my looks shall be soft-going.


Bradgate Park, Leicestershire

Like the trees, I begin to truly burst into life as the days start to lengthen. Penning this, winter solstice approaching, I look forward to that first moment, often around mid March, when I can stand in the garden, close my eyes & hold my face to the sun & feel its warmth gently radiate across my skin. My inner spirit, like the sap within the trees, starts to rise & come to life. I have always been free-spirited & often find winter restrains, stifles & sometimes can even suffocate this fire within me. Even the requirement to don a tightly buttoned up coat, socks and boots mean I can’t physically move with the freedom I want to, let alone feel the earth beneath my feet! I do acknowledge this is probably sheer poppycock to most but to some of you out there I know you get where I am coming from!

I do therefore grab every opportunity I can to be outside, either in my garden or observing & exploring my favourite landscapes: The Vale of Belvoir, Bradgate Park, Beacon Hill, The Lake District, Dartmoor or my ever beautiful North Cornish coast, even if it is in a coat or indeed a winter wetsuit!!


Winter bracken on a February descent off Fairfield Horseshoe, Lake District

The Winter landscape is indeed a thing of ethereal beauty. What remains once the winter winds have stripped the trees of the last few tenacious leaves & the birds devoured the dwindling supply of berries may well be a skeletal landscape, but it is a beautiful one. Mother Nature may be resting, taking a well earned breath, but the silhouettes of the landscape she gifts us set against our winter skies can be breathtaking.


From my garden – Ilex aquifolium (Holly)


Fennel seed heads

With winter & the absence of the summer greenery, I feel the skies are bigger, more expansive. I love the sense of space this brings especially when at the snowy 873m summit of Fairfield, my favourite Lakeland Fell. The sense of emptiness & void is inherently calming and I begin to understand the need for Mother Nature to just take time out to rest, recharge & quietly catch her breath. Perhaps I to should take heed of her ebb & flow & follow her rhythmic lead!


Fairfield Horseshoe, Lake District

With the absence & distraction of spring, summer & autumnal foliage, previously hidden colours, textures & forms come to the fore. The vivid greens of algaes & lichens on the north side of trees & clefts of branches are discovered or the fractal forms of bracken & ferns, accentuated by a hoar frost, are observed more keenly.


Winter, Bradgate Park, Leicestershire

As winter marches on I will try to echo the words of Owen in his ‘Winter Song’ & allow my inner self to be sprinkled with ‘spiritual glitter’. Without doubt, to be able to sparkle is so much, much more preferable than to be stifled ✨✨✨💚💚💚


The Lake District & an abundance of wintery sparkle!