Thursday, 25 September 2014

Fairy dust & Honeysuckle wafts

I wrote the bare bones of this earlier in the year & with nothing better to do while waiting for a frame to dry I thought why not flesh it out a little.

The River Towy, a Summers evening. There are not many places that i'd rather be. With little rain of late the ground hard, pink & dusty. There are places, shaded & dark, where the sun won't smile which keep an air of dampness & a cool demeanour. Its not to those places that i'm heading for this evening.
I want to sit quietly, still & calm beside a wide ribbon of gently flowing water, the edges scattered with trees which bow & darken the pools below where the Sewin, made of metal & jewels, silver arrowed beauties await the night.

Dusty perfumed lanes. Oil on Linen.

I have a way to go yet & although the day has been hot & bright & the air thin & warm I can smell the river from several fields away, its clear bright liquid scent. Its not one thats easy to describe but experiencing the outdoors in all its weathers & moods, over the years you just know it, its as familiar as a good friend. Or maybe I just have a nose for such things but I think anyone who spends much of their time out in the countryside will know what I mean. Actually all forms of water each have their own aroma. How many of you have said " I can smell the sea." There you are then but moving on from the whiff of a river, a blog for another day I reckon.
I strolled through dusty musty perfumed lanes. Hot rich herby foliage thick with heavy green & earthy aromas. Honeysuckle wafts & Meadowsweet dampness rise into the evening air. As the day slowly starts its batton change in its infinite relay with night & day, insects, millions upon millions of them rise up & dance in the sunbeams, each one haloed in golden light, a sprinkling of fairy dust.
The cattle too, gently graze & the sound of their shuffling about in the slowly dampening grass, a pleasing swish, are also rimmed in a halo of light.

Insects dance in the sunbeams like fairy dust. Oil on canvas.
Haloed cow on a Summer evening. Oil on Canvas.
As the sun sinks & withdraws its light, pulling the last rays across the fields into its embrace, holding onto them unto tomorrow, the river valley & its surrounding fields conjure a new magic. As I stroll through the evenings dew, my boots two tone with the spreading damp, I too swish through the grass which only moments before was damp & moments before that dry as toast. On reaching the river I sit & watch & smell & listen. Gone now the graceful acrobatic fight of Sandmartins with their stony chatter & even the cows are still & calm. I adore the little window between day & night when the days inhabitants have gone to sleep yet the nights have not yet woken. Its an exciting time for a naturalist ( not naturist as a colleague of my good lady thought the other day on reading the subheading of my blog & saying " I didn't know that David liked to run around in the nude." Made me laugh that did ) waiting to see what will appear.

Paper winged pale moths clap into the twilight air, rising jauntily & dangerously amongst the whirring membraned wings of Pipestrelles. A mist hangs low over the river valley, softly, a fairy veil of precipitous silk, gently caressing the fronds of grass below with its cool meanderings. A mist like this appears a little lost to me, with no purpose other than to choose a place to rest, then fade mysteriously with only a clue to its existence, each blade of grass beaded with tiny droplets of dew, each holding within a perfect inverted reflection of the world.

Almost a whole fields distance I can hear the noisy bumblings of a Badger making its way in my direction. I know its old Brock because their is no other creature that makes so much noise whilst foraging. I once followed a Badger for what seemed like the whole night ( it was probably more like just over an hour ) keeping up with it just a few feet behind. When it stopped I stopped, when it moved I moved. At first it knew something was up but it made so much noise rooting & snuffling around that it didn't suss me out. The light or whats left of it, just a feint warm orange glow on the horizon graduating into ever darkening blues, is fading fast & the bumbling bulk of the Badger trundles past me only feet away, it stops & with one paw slightly raised & head held high it sniffs the air, pointing its muzzle forward while its body is kept back ready to retreat. I have been detected but after a moments caution it is on its way again & minutes later I can still hear it moving along a distant hedgerow. As I hear more creatures of the night, a Tawny owl, some Otters far off down stream & the scurrying of voles at my feet it is time for me to return home.

 More from the banks of the Towy another day, perhaps next time I may even talk of the river. She does after all have so many stories to tell.

My frame is dry & to work again. I'm off to Norfolk tomorrow to deliver some paintings to a gallery there. I will blog again in a few days ( probably ).

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