Elemental Ravine

 

Roots ripple along the far bank, tracing lines that overlap and entwine sinuously for twenty feet or more. The two hundred year old sycamore leans against a larger boulder, holding on by these mossy ropes and stretching seventy feet into the air. And at the other end of the roots is a young illuminated sycamore, catching the rays of light from a break in the canopy. 

Sitting in silent immersion with senses open I hear a cuckoo call bringing childhood light into the ravine... and a midday tawny owl drifts silently across the still air to a hanging holly beside the cliffs.

 

The horse gate

The hinge post of the old gate has been pushed from one side by the mature ash tree and leans into the soft ground watered by run-off streams from the field above. An old cow-chain holds the remaining structure in place, probably one of the chains my father used for our cows in the stalls when milking them in the early sixties. But the gate itself is broken into bars suspended by nails and wire, no longer needing the hinges or catch that I can still hear ringing out as my father urged our Clydesdale horse, Duke, up the field beyond, briefly turning to wave to me. The gate was always narrow, just wide enough for Duke to pull a sledge to the village with the morning’s milk.

Underneath the many years of encroaching moss and water weed below the gate is a stone pavement built to help horses to gain purchase up the slope. This was once the main route out from the farm, busy in the daily round of duties - a route now fallen silent and absorbed by the peace in the pools of light, rushes, celandines and moss, all the more poignant for the broken branch fallen across it.

 

home