Friday, 19 November 2010
I love trees. I love to see them as they are just bursting into leaf; I love them in their full finery when the leaves are new and bright; I love them in their Autumn colours; most of all I love them in Winter.
In the fens of Lincolnshire there is very little grassland - all the fields are ploughed up and replanted each year, which means you get a wonderful vista of bare trees and brown ploughed fields - that I love most of all. One of these days I shall buy myself a watercolour painting of just such a landscape even though I have little wall space which is not already covered with pictures.
Up here, of course, almost every field is a pasture or a meadow, so the views are different. Nevertheless, there is something so beautiful about a bare tree rising out of the hedgerow and revealing its shape. This morning, driving into Leyburn, bare alders were rising up out of the mist - breath-takingly beautiful.
It is one of those days when the fair weather to the West of the Pennines (blue skies and sunshine) is fighting the sea-fret/fog of the East coast. The battle is taking place round about where we live so that one minute it is thick fog and the next the sun breaks through. It was like that on our walk a short while ago.
And it struck me just how many secrets these bare trees and hedgerows reveal. First of all there are the birds' nests - how well the birds conceal their nests at breeding time and how vulnerable they look now that the trees and hedges are bare.
A small crab apple tree in the hedge has gone unnoticed all year until now, when all the leaves are off and it advertises its presence with a crop of yellow, waxy fruit.
The cotoneaster horizontalis just outside our front gate is covered in red beady berries which were hardly noticeable when the little leaves were on the branches. Now they stand out like rubies, waiting to be picked off one by one by the blackbirds.
My favourite bare tree of all is the alder. By the time we got back to the farm after our walk the fog was coming down again. I took a shot of the alders in the distance - not near enough to be really exciting, but it gives you the general idea.
So for me, Winter does have its compensations - there really is beauty everywhere if only we take the time to look for it. Have a nice weekend.
One perk of the awful, dismal weather is that the farmer has time on his hands, so yesterday he gave the kitchen a bit of a spruce up by re-doing the walls with 'daffodil' - doesn't it look nice and sparkly clean (for how long?)