Wednesday 4 August 2010

In the wood

Today started with a downpour, so we put on our waterproofs and cleared the wood store ready for a new delivery of hardwood to use in the winter. At our last home we  felled our own trees from an overgrown copse of ash, proving the truth of the saying that wood can warm you three times, felling, splitting and finally burning.
When that became too much like hard work we went to forestry auctions and bid for cords of timber.

Now we just phone up and ready cut wood is delivered to our door.

 Talk about the seven ages of man! I hope that I'm not going to end up as a little old lady huddled around an electric fire!

I walk in the woods with my dog most days, where the network of small paths always reminds me of Robert Frost's poem, 'The Road Not Taken'. I was taught to recite it at school and assumed that the woods that he described were in his homeland of America. I love his poetry. Imagine my pleasure on learning, only recently, that he wrote this poem in England, after walking in woods near London with his friend, Edward Thomas.
This was the first piece of work that taught me to look beneath the surface of words, to find other meanings. 

My husband works in wood and his studio is an old stone outbuilding that was formerly the gamekeeper's store. He has altered it very little for his own use, adding only a cast iron stove for winter warmth and replacing mesh with glass in the small window spaces that provided ventilation for the hanging game. The roof beams are studded with nails - it must have been quite a sight when the store was full.
(Our wood store is the remains of one of the gamekeeper's dog pens.)

  Summer Rain

In summer rain towards the woods we walk,
in wellingtons and waterproofs quite well prepared.
But through the field tall grasses soak our knees
and my small dog is drowned in buttercups,
she follows, sodden, at my heels.

Within the wood, a canopy of leaf
creates an underwater world of green
where raindrops are no longer felt or seen
but patter out their music overhead.

luminously lit, we walk,
another season come, another shift
of colour, and our senses made alert.
Our daily walk transformed

'Robin Hood', relief woodcarving.

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