Already, a longer gap between posts than I had meant...life intervenes. But this is also intended to be a place where I will come only when I have something to say and show that I hope may be of interest -so you may find a gap of one or two weeks, and then two or three posts in quick succession. I hope you have the patience to follow me in that intention.
These photographs are of a walk once again through Great Pen Wood on Sunday, just before the Pagan festival of Imbolc, which marks and honours the first stirrings of growth and renewal of the natural world in the Northern hemisphere.
Something else has also been stirring in Pen Wood - the harvesting of the conifers - (Much of the wood is a managed mixed plantation by the Forestry Commission) which was delayed by the heavy snows has obviously been taking place apace since the snow cleared. Notices inform walkers that the plantation will then be prepared for re-planting in the winter of 2010.
Watch this space for progression towards that - in the photographs the impact of clearing is evident. But, as I will show you over and over again on these walks, Mother Nature quickly restores and reclaims her own in the face of seemingly overwhelming odds, if she is given just the smallest chance. Treated with reverence and respect, the natural world - and therefore ourselves, who live within and as part of it, can flourish.
Though the snow has gone, the cold and ice remained - but even the ice has been beautiful, forming crustings and patterns as it freezes, melts and reforms. Seeing and photographing all these natural forms reminded me of the portfolio of images and ideas I was required to develop some 27 years ago, when I was studying enthusiastically for a City & Guilds qualification in Embroidery, taught by the visionary Valerie Campbell-Harding (now sadly deceased).
Val was responsible for teaching me to deeply look, and intensively see what was all around me wherever I was - but I looked especially closely in the natural world. My looking and seeing has never been the same since she opened my eyes - what a wonderful legacy to leave to the world. You can see the list of books that she produced here (are any of them familiar to you?) and here is a downloadable .pdf file of a workshop created by Val which shows images of just a few of her delicious works on the last few pages, and the processes she used to create them.