Just over a week ago, we were treated to a partial eclipse here in the UK. I took the chance to drag out the telescope and watch as it passed us. I never cease to be wonderstruck by these events, the darkening skies, the eerie light and birds preparing to roost. This time we even had perfect clear blue skies, just a bit of high level haze that didn’t really stop us watching.
I have no sun filters for my telescope, or my camera so I used this set-up to watch, joined by a couple of neighbours and some workmen. Everyone enjoying the spectacle. Seeing these events, solar system happenings, always makes me think in two directions. About the earliest people, looking up, not knowing if the sun was coming back, learning to predict the coming and going of the solar system. Yet also about the future, about how we will I am sure, spread out further into the universe. Who will we find, and how will those epic journeys happen. I grew up on pulp sci-fi books, adventure in space. I still want to go up there, have a look back at the Earth from above. Maybe one day I’ll get my wish.
Back here on the ground, I have a new camera, a Pentax K-50. I’m still getting to grips with the widgets and buttons but will do a post about it soon as I can. in the meantime I’ve been out on Crook Peak again, ambling about and enjoying the fresh spring air.
No matter where I go, there is nothing like walking out of your front door and being quickly into the countryside, enjoying the high views, the wildlife and woodlands near by. This time of year, everything is coming alive, the birds are frantic, the green is returning, and all is proceeding as it should.
This weeks fragments are from ideas used in the Poetry Cafe last Thursday, a great evening of reading poetry on the theme of Pan, God or Gods.
The God of the Little Things.
It doesn't matter who you think he is,
God, Jehovah, Allah, Jesus.
So long as you believe,
because belief isolates
each from the other.
The Wind in the Cherry Tree.
The wind is in the West and salt is in the air,
He's set the ball rolling and now,
it's as if he was never there.
Who knows how far they could get if left alone.
I’m navigating through, but following a single strand is not an option, ever. Life is about many tracks and many turns, we need to embrace them all.
Some days you go to the sea and there is nothing there, mist hangs along the promenade and covers everything with a cold sweat. The sun doesn’t even bother to try, just drips light slowly into the grey.
Other days, the cold wind sweeps everyone along yet the wide horizon can stop you in its tracks as the sun dips below the horizon, clouds bubble across to add depth while the colours range far and wide through the spectrum of visibility. Despite the cold there are many of us who stand and watch, trying to catch the changing image in our mind.
When the tide goes out here, the sea leaves the country, Weston-super-Mare has one of the highest tidal ranges in the world. The open expanse draws you out towards the edge, not really the sea perhaps, who knows where the Severn river ends and Atlantic begins. You could almost walk to sunset, get pulled over the horizon like the colours and the light. But be wary, the mud is deep and unforgiving.
Who You Are.
It’s about your eyes,
the smile that lingers long after the moment,
I carry each one with me.
You could walk all the way out from here,
let the tide take you,
but don’t chase the sunset, always one step away.
This morning the Cherry tree broke out in white blossom, we’ve been watching it, waiting for the buds to break, yet they still catch us out and arrive en mass, snow blossom in the rain this morning. In the hills and valleys, covering damp verges, the Snowdrops are out. Soon other flowers will follow the blossom and the Snowdrops, go out and look for them, lift your spirits with the return of long days and wild flowers.
It was a weather spread bet this morning. Rain, chunky hail, wind and sunshine, the only disappointment was the lack of snow. We’re starting work on a major revamp of our kitchen this week, never underestimate how much soil a hole can set free. I think two bags appear for every one we fill.
I’m working on spring, hence the fist view of the flowering cherry in our garden. I noticed the fist blossom high in the tree a few days ago, and these have joined the party. I’m trying to catch the sunrise gold over this tree, glorious as we sit with morning coffee and look out of the window, it always raises the spirits to see it lit up with amazing colour.
I am dipping into some old work and starting re-writing, I bumped into this and like the opening though it obviously needs a lot of work, things like this remind me how far I have come, this first saw the light of day sometime in 2001 –
Untouched blue sky, white cloud on the horizon,
cherry blossom makes an impromptu showing.
Testing the air for spring and the flowers that
will soon follow.
I had the first reminder for NaPoWriMo today, but I think this year I’ll relax and take the month off, watch other people bashing out the poems and enjoy myself with all the reading I can do that month. Have fun as winter turns into spring this month, I will mark its passing somehow, a little snow item to remind us of the journey we are all taking, every day of our lives.
It’s the weekend, 6 Nations rugby, Valentines and a visit to Bristol to find some ideas for our forthcoming kitchen renewal. It’s nice to be nice to your partner, to be romantic. A shame so many people see this as the only time for romance, and the commercialism runs away with it because we spread ourselves so thin. Lets take some time and smile a bit more, say something nice to someone close. I love Shakespeare’s use of words, his ability to make it extraordinary.
Here are a couple of snippets to enjoy.
“All days are nights to see till I see thee,
And nights bright days when dreams do show thee me.” Sonnet 43
“in black ink my love may still shine bright.” Sonnet 65
He has the words that still have impact. As we discovered when we went to Stratford and the RSC recently to watch Loves Labour Lost and Loves Labours Won. His Love poetry and verse is timeless.
The poetry cafe is this week at the Royal Hotel, Weston-super-Mare. I am writing sonnets, as the subject for this month, it’s slow going with work commitments but I am writing at least. Here is a fragment of my own I’m working on.
A Love Song.
A Love song is always
the sound of life with you.
Have a heart this week, be kind and remember, it’s nicer to smile at people.
The weather forecast settled about 5 days out and just got better as Sunday drew closer. So there it was, a trip to the Brecon Beacons, Pen y Fan, Corn Du and Cribyn, clear skies and settled snow. The road was a little icy but easily passable with care. Someone had trouble on a slope but made it and cleared off the road in the end, I seemed to be the only one with a shovel despite the predicted -1 temperature. Heading in from the South is my favourite approach, glimpses of the hills through the trees of the Taf Fechan forest, exiting into the steep-sided valley near the Neuadd reservoir the white peaks are unmistakable.
After the lead in walk, you turn conclusively uphill, with the edge of the cliffs hiding the main event, if you look across the valley, the Roman road is easily spotted heading back to the start.
The weather stayed cold all day, as predicted. Which with the breeze made for a chilly start to the walk along the ridge. But with warm clothes, a beautiful clear blue sky and the sun making everything bright you couldn’t ask for a better day in Wales. I’ve been here in much worse. And this end is the quieter route in. Although I was passing and being passed, by a friendly bunch all like me, enjoying the chance to see the and around repainted white. It is when you clamber out of the cold wet gully you get to see the hills ahead. Glorious, shapely peaks.
As you get approach the main summit area, the ants resolve into people, lots of people who come from the North, this is a popular and easily accessible area. Luckily they tend to stay in quite a small area, so are easy to escape.
Walking in the snow, in this cold weather, changes everything around you. The sound is different, the way you walk, wading through a flattened landscape full of hidden pits. Dropping thigh deep from time to time adds a bit to a normal stroll. Crunching through the harder patches, or scuffing across shallow windblown areas bare and dark in comparison. Unfortunately, as we approached Corn Du, the cloud fell over us and visibility was reduced to twenty or so metres. With intermittent breaks to show snatches of what you are missing. Such is the way of high places, some days the cloud gives you a big hug. This is nice in some ways, privacy, quiet, thoughtful walking, just no wide open panoramas of South Wales from one of the best viewpoints in the country. The Brecons are a fantastic range, with drama that far exceeds their 880m summit.
After lunch on Corn Du, we fought the crowds at Pen y Fan, to get the picture. With me is a lad called Tom. We met in the car park, walked mostly together, chatting and strolling along. Always good to bump into people and see the who, why and where of someone you meet. Made for a change not to be travelling alone today.
The descent from Pen y Fan, proved interesting. Many people, not having any sort of grip on their trainers (yes) or wearing boots with shallow lugs, decided to slide down the tracks. This resulted in the snow compacting and getting icier. The good side to this was the chance to buckle on my crampons and stroll with ease down slopes others were precariously dancing down. Bum slides, all fun and games until someone finds a rock, or a cliff. But there you go, each to his own. There’s a drop between Pen y Fan and Cribyn, and the cloud was staying close to make sure we didn’t get lost. Makes for some drama as you hear things and people pass by heard and unseen.
It was a good day out. Well worth the trip from home. plenty to see along the way, and plenty of snow, everyone we met was happy and friendly and many stopped for a brief chat about the hills, places to visit in the future and where they had travelled from today. The car park was emptying quickly when we arrived back, people trying to head out before the road froze over as night fell in the valley.
Driving home, listening to music and letting the world flow past. I picked up a coffee and as the snow was left behind I crossed the bridge back to England ready for another day. Have fun with your day and keep going forward, it will be worth it in the end.
Did I say happy new year last time? If not, Happy New Year. That time of looking at endings and beginnings. Resolutions and ambitions, where will I be this time next year, and how far have I come? I am moving away from Facebook and my focus is going to be on writing more, both for my blog and to send submissions for publication, This time next year I will see how that has gone.
First this year, something to be worked on. A tester to try out on you all.
It’s not all like the pictures –
Black and White
or dynamic glorious colour.
Sometimes the colour fades
or the black is less deep
and the white not so pure
and we put aside the truth
for a moment, to remember
just what we want. Those images
we want to keep, that creased
and cherished memory
that seems clearer behind
closed eyes than on some
scrap we hold, copied and
pasted into our timeline.