A common man marvels at uncommon things. A wise man marvels at the commonplace. CONFUCIUS

Monday, 20 September 2010

Green

On that special, second day of my coastal walk, believe me, all was magic and mystery. I felt like Sir Gawain on his quest for the Green Knight. The sun shone, and the sky was a cloudless, ineluctable blue. I passed this thatched, double-arched tollgate ...


... on the way to Culbone church, one of those churches the tourist guides call 'the smallest church in England' ...


Inside two German walkers I'd met earlier were engaged in some gorgeous a cappella polyphony (you can see their walking poles on the left of the church porch; mine are on the right next to my backpack) ...


That morning I'd startled two red deer which had run noisily down a brackeny combe. Then they'd frozen in perfect unison, both looking back at me, thinking themselves camouflaged ... And I'd disturbed two green woodpeckers, eating ants in a green field, which had then ricocheted away over slopes slanting to a blue horizon ... And I'd seen a falcon from above, with black-tipped scimitar wings, perched on a stumpy tree, then gliding off up-valley in motionless flight ...

The stunning moorland purple and yellow carpet of heather and gorse had been pure Wizard Of Oz. And, in the woodlands, the variety of trees was stupendous: oak, holly, birch, rowan, maple, sycamore, pines, many rarer species I could not identify. Butterflies did their limp, fluttery thing, and greenbottles (flies you don't normally notice) sparkled on cow pats. Tame, dumpy robins skulked an arm's length away. However, the bright red berries of the wild arum flower showed the season was on the turn.

Yet it was still summer, and I walked through green tunnels of legendary shadows and celestial light ...

8 comments:

Grace said...

Indeed, there is magic and mystery is those photos. I particularly enjoy the last one . . . my mind is drifting down that lane into a world of Arthurian fantasy already.

George said...

What a day, Robert! I loved these photos, the thatched toll-gate, the small, exquisite church, and especially the woodland path. Green, indeed, very green! The path looks absolutely magical!

Your description of what you saw is wonderful. It appears that nothing escaped your attention of this wonderful day. Thanks for sharing it with us.

ksam said...

I can almost smell the earth and the moss! Beautiful!

martine said...

Beautiful
thanks for sharing
martine

gleaner said...

Wonderful photos!

Bonnie said...

What a sweet surprise to come upon the a cappella harmonies in the church. I feel like I have been guided along the rest of the walk by a naturalist in love with his work.

Your last sentence sent shivers up my spine: "...I walked through green tunnels of legendary shadows and celestial light ...". If there is a heaven, I think you have found it.

The Solitary Walker said...

Thanks for picking up on the Arthurian thing, Grace. The talented English poet, Simon Armitage, did a wonderfully lucid translation of 'Sir Gawain and the Green Knight' a few years ago. Later on my walk I passed through Tintagel, another Arthurian landmark.

George - yes, that day was magical indeed. I was also on the high you get when just starting a long trek. Plus that mixture of sun and shadow, warmth and shade, was just perfect. It wasn't always like that!

Thanks, Karin, Martine and Bella, for your appreciative comments...

... and Bonnie, I'm hardly a naturalist, but thanks! Glad you liked that last sentence. I always seem to experience life as a blend of the material and the mystical, the real and the metaphorical, and hope to convey a little of that in some of my posts!

Tramp said...

Hey, wait for me! I turn my back for a moment and you're off into the blue.
Is that little church at Culborne the one that featured in the novel of Lorna Doone?
Excuse me, I'm off now to catch you up on the next stage.
...Tramp