Tuesday, 10 January 2012
A Winter Walk.
Do you fancy coming with me on a winter's walk through the fields? The day is dull but not cold, sun now and again and a light breeze - so off we go.
Gateways are always muddy at this time of the year - I really don't know why as the fields are mainly empty other than sheep and they do not have a habit of congregating near the gates. But once Tess and I get through the gate and into the field proper, the ground is quite dry.
We walk down the hedge-side and come across a new rabbit hole. My goodness me, how clever those rabbits are - they always put their holes in sheltered and dry places. This one looks quite cosy don't you think?
The beck is very full and slow-flowing at present. Of course this is Sod's Law because in the summer, when our neighbouring farmer friend is crying out for water for his beast, the beck will be almost empty.
Here and there the wall has fallen down a little. Usually there is wire netting as well because sheep do love to jump on to walls - that is probably the reason there has been a bit of a fall in the picture. The stiles between our fields are quite narrow - this is also to stop the sheep moving from field to field but it does make for difficulty for anyone wide of the hips!
Every sloe and every holly and hawthorn bush has been stripped of berries. There is hardly a bird to be seen other than the odd cock blackbird skulking in the hedge-bottom and a small flock of starlings flashing overhead. Here and there there are a few crab apples left on the ground. The birds only eat these in emergencies as they are so very sour.
There is little colour in this landscape. Only the lichen on the stone walls give a golden glow. Coming as I do from the fenlands of Lincolnshire, I love the browns of winter - the bare earth, the bare trees, the lack of colour. John (Going Gently) on the other hand, years for the bright colours of summer.
John Clare, that poet of the Countryside, puts it better than I ever could, when he says,
"All is gone, and nothing but the grass
Oh yes, the grass is green as we make our way home, but it is a sad, dismal green - no new growth here - just the drooping blades of last year's grass. But what is this we see in the grass - an aconite! I knew Spring was only just round the corner.