Twilight

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Come with me this winter’s eve

Come, follow Inky’s steps,

There’s something treasured here to see –

A wonder that’s most dear to me.

 

We’ll meet at forest, combe and stream

Beyond the village gate

Explorers in the space between –

The loving murmurs of a dream.

 

Then take a path which Ackland gave

That leads around to forest cave,

There stillness wakes and silence stirs

Amidst the giant silver firs

 

As Darkness reaches to embrace

Queen’s daylight and her glowing face,

They’ll skip and dance and seem to fly

Across the vivid painted sky

 

While shadows dance to feathered song

We’ll breathe, connect, engage, belong –

And no doubt marvel as we stare

What is it that we see out there?

 

The dark of day, or twilight’s seam,

The stillness or the pause between?

It’s only when we come away

That long legs stretch and giants sway

 

Adrift in twilight, silver trees

Float whispers carried on a breeze

Between the mighty oak and beech,

They wink and glide just out of reach.

 

For as you raise your head to gaze                 

Upon the picture of this page

You may  well wonder what you see …

The moving limbs of a wakeful tree?

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Dunster Beach

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With smiles on their faces

And a waggle through their tails

The friends and folk of Dunster Beach

Today left sandy trails.

 

Twixt stormy seas and hailstones

Wild passion and raw grief

It’s good to feel the sun again

And with her light, relief.

 

The sea, she is a mile away

Beyond the scattered stones

Her breath so soft and gentle

Licking gently over bones

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While sky above is bright and blue

Large puddles shine below

For giant waves broke through these shores

As if you didn’t know!

 

And while the shadows lengthen

Stretching all the way to Wales

The friends and folk of Dunster Beach

Need no longer think of gales.

 

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Imogen

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Do you ever feel irresistibly drawn to the raw, wild beauty of Nature?

While this morning broke with the sound of a deep silence, yesterday Storm Imogen arrived with a roar as she battered the shores of England’s south west.  Emergency services asked people to stay at home, but I like many others was drawn to her beauty and wrath, as her giant pounding waves crashed onto cliffs and beaches and into harbours and coves.

Bezel and I arrived at Bossington’s car park and made our way up the wooded path alongside the rushing torrent of Horner Water.  Nearby, a partially flooded field had become an oasis for dozens of white seabirds and gulls along with one lone hen pheasant, who without her waders, paraded the grassy boundary with an air of importance.

We headed for Hurlestone Point; a rocky, rugged ridge that sweeps down from Bossington Hill.  As it descends, it tapers to a head, where the promontory juts dramatically out into the Severn Sea.  From a seagull’s airborne perspective, the head belongs to that of a sleeping dragon.  Sheer cliff sides are it’s bony cheeks while a dark, cavernous through-cave arches into the giant’s dark nostrils.

At the edge of the woods, the unexpected weight of the wooden gate takes me by surprise, and I push back with force meeting almost equal resistance until I hear a satisfying ‘click’.  Heading up into the combe, the rushing wind in my ears suddenly stops and for a moment I seem to walk into the heart of silence.

And then I heard it.  A deep thunderous roar coming from the chasm far below and I knew that Imogen had awoken the dragon.  The ground itself seemed to shudder with a terrible thrill.  Wave after giant wave rolled and crashed, frothing and churning onto the margins of this land, while across the bay Imogen’s colossal shadow moved ever closer, swallowing sea and sky.

Thoughts of descending the steep fisherman’s path quickly vanished and we hasten up the ridge heading to the abandoned Coastguard building.  The higher we get the more exposed we become until finally, struggling up the last few steps we emerge into the face of the storm.

Far below and yet it seems within touching distance, huge grey waves roll in on all three sides. Looking down the dragon’s nose, the ground seems to sway and momentarily queasy, I’m reminded of a pitching ferry on rough seas.  Staggering to keep balance I’m thankful for the railings at the edge and look up.  The wind is too fierce to reach the shelter of the old building.  Day has turned into the blackness of night.  Imogen is upon us and horizontal rain lashes, cold and stinging.  The onslaught is too much and looking at Bezel – he agrees, it’s time to turn back.

Smiling with relief, he skips down the steps and I turn to follow.  But the storm has other plans and pushes me roughly backwards. I stagger to stay on my feet and gritting my teeth, turn again – this time more prepared.  With my left hand firmly holding down my hat, the other grapples with the wet steel rail and I struggle to get a grip until slowly, slowly and step by step I fight my way down.

Eventually, after less than a dozen steps and only when he sees me release the handrail does Bezel lead the way.  Eagerly his walk turns into a trot – until laughing and running down the path we arrive, breathless, dishevelled and half soaked to the shelter of the woods below.

From there on, we meet an upward stream of unruffled, kindred spirits – all of whom it seems, are also eager to face the raw, wild beauty of Storm Imogen.

 

Letters from Thurlestone

What a moment.  What a place.  What a time!

 

ThurlRockThe morning dawned clear, pink and bright .. time to walk, to stretch and remember the path to Hope Cove.  The westerly gales are back and sand blasts across the beach, stinging eyes and cheeks.

This was not the Cove of quiet cream teas or dreamy loganberry ice cream.  The sea was churning and even seagulls took their time, coming into land on gusty blasts.

Walking back along the sea-cliffs, our faces into the fierce wind made for quirky walking. Staying on the path now a game of balance and direction – with the wind winning for the most part, I swayed and sailed all the way back to the Cottage.

Rosy cheeks and shining eyes were my morning’s souvenirs … And I’ll close these letters with some poetry summing up the beauty of my experience in recent days.

Sunshine pours

Cascading love-light

Into sweet embrace

 

While Ocean

Pounds and paws the shore

Like a dog

 

Crested waves

Rush to greet old friends

Back again.

 

Eternal

Time turns in circles

True to Now

 

And shadows

Run from sunny thoughts

To dark caves

 

While giants

Wait in soft repose

For smugglers

 

And I sit

Bathed in warmth and glory

Allowing

 

Receiving

Senses alive as

Fire crackles.

 

Letters from the Cottage

What a moment.  What a place.  What a time!

LGCView2My second morning and I’m loving it!  I wonder why I’d tucked away the thought of coming here to write?  Now that I sit here tapping away however, with bright blue sea and sunshine pouring through the window, the clarity is total.

 

The detail makes me laugh. For what was once a bed with a view is now my chair with a view.   It is a home-coming of beautiful measure … a return to Self and childlike moments cherished.

Pausing, there’s a sudden clatter, as if many crabs race, side-stepping across the parquet floor.  Bezel lifts his head and brown eyes twinkle with curiosity.  Getting up I investigate, crossing the point between the sun-drenched cottage at the back of the room to the dark shade and sound of raindrops at the front…. another threshold and childlike footprints in the sand…..

I remember how she’d wear a gypsy scarf tying it back under her thick, curly red hair. There were long poles to carry with green nets on the end, a lined plastic bag and a pair of tough looking gloves that were rarely used.

…. Watching the dark squall head out across a sunlight sea, its black cloud heavy with grey showers, my mind turns to the beauty of contrast. How boring life would be without sunshine and showers.  Wet, glistening green leaves shiver in a stiffening wind.

I sit back and listen …. Memories come and go, carried on the breeze.  I like that where I am sitting now is where my pillow was nearly five decades ago.

I like that it’s still the room with the view.  And what a view!  Like a grey veil is drawn across the bright horizon, another shower heads out to sea.  The tide is on the turn.

Bezel comes over with ‘lunchtime’ in his eyes.  We head into what has now become a spacious, open, sunny open plan kitchen where Bezel enjoys a combination of fish and liver while I cut open a mango. Juice oozes, more memories by the sea….

“Ready?”  The tall woman with the gypsy scarf and flaming red hair is standing at the porch.  My seven year old hands grab a beach bucket and I beam a smile of rabbit teeth, we’re out the door and on our way.

It doesn’t take long to get down to the shore.  The tide is out and jagged rocks sit idle and exposed, while others wrapped in horsetail kelp, gleam in summer sun.

Mother leads the way.  Little legs run to keep up as she heads down to the eastern side of the beach.  She has a plan.  She knows where the best pools are, she’s been coming here for years.

Letters from the Beach

What a moment. What a place. What a time!

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Sitting at the kitchen table bathed in warmth, bright sunshine pours through the window and it feels good to be back at this Cottage after more than 40 years.  Gales have been battering the south coast and over fifty shades of grey envelope the soft rounded curves of the South Hams.

The ancient Celtic Fire Festival of Imbolc is upon us, and it’s fitting that what seems to have been many moons of grey skies, are now replaced by a low February sun passing over the southern sky washed sea.

I breathe out a deep sigh and it feels as though my whole being softens like butter left out on a spring day.  Thresholds hover, they are the place in-between worlds, where memories slumber and awaken to Imagination’s kiss.

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We’ve arrived. I can hear the distant call of seagulls above the whistling branches of the fir trees.  Two hours in the car and Bezel and I are both keen.  We head across the windswept fairway towards Yarmer Beach. Murky clouds have been replaced by fatter, friskier ones that tease and chase one another across a blue sky.

Running now, almost tumbling we head towards the grassy cliff tops and down through the steep, deep sandy dunes to the shore.

Then suddenly it’s there; the intoxicating smell of the sea.  Gulping in deep breaths of summer days and salty deliciousness, I’m transported through time and space…. into a kaleidoscope of memory which has my senses reeling.

By the time I reach the sea, my face is wet with spray carried in on the strong wind and Bezel waves his tail, suddenly halted by the crashing waves.  Large, white horses race towards us on an incoming tide and I hold onto my hat amidst the wrestling forces of nature.

Crumbling cliffs and ancient granite faces to admire, we walk – with wonder in our footprints as a pair of herring gulls watch on from a grassy outcrop and a dozen oyster catchers perch, bobbing on jagged rocks to greet the incoming tide.

Finding my feet

Hi, welcome to my first blog.

Finding my feet … I like it, it’s an optimistic and encouraging title – it gives me somewhere to start, which is helpful as I’m about to begin.

I’ve been pondering ‘thresholds’ in recent days, along with ‘the place where all Things meet’ and it’s just occurred to me that that’s what it does. This is what writing, or any creative expression does; it crosses thresholds, taking us to the place where all things meet.

Without you, these words are invisible upon the page.  Thank you.  Journey well and enjoy the ride.