Sunday, 29 January 2012

Writing Words of Silence

I have exchanged a couple of comments recently with ExmoorJane after one of her posts got me thinking.  I spend a lot of my time thinking, it goes with the day job.  Now these thoughts are not usually high powered for I don't spend my working hours in a dynamic office environment; I spend them - often on my own - in the real, green environment.  And that's the problem: there are so many things to distract me.  A few days ago it was the fault of the jackdaws - they suddenly had realised that spring is around the corner and were in full display flight, tumbling and diving and generally making an awful lot of noise.  So I spent far too long wondering why I hadn't noticed their courtship before.

Yesterday it was the fault of the snowdrops and the winter flowering aconites.  They are to blame because they are in full flower a few weeks earlier due to the unseasonably mild winter we have had so far.  Some years ago I organised a visit to some gardens renowned for their display of snowdrops and we had to search hard to find one in flower - that was the 10th February.  Nature, like some people, can  be fickle.  The photo below shows a different garden's snowdrops: it is the garden of what I call the 'reincarnation' house.  They are at their best now.

The aconites were more fully to blame. Seeing the hundred or so yellow blooms staring up at me from the foot of our garden hedge made me decide to take a walk as, not far from our little cottage, further down the secret valley lies a very special woodland.  At this time of year it is a yellow carpet of flowering aconites, an extremely rare sight for they are not native to this country.  No-one knows by whom or when they were planted for there is no sign of there ever being a house nearby; they are of no value as a commercial crop unlike snowdrops that were sent to London in bunches for selling once the age of steam made it possible to transport them quickly.


But all this pondering can most squarely be laid at Jane's doorstep.  In her post on writing she mentioned that she sometimes writes just for the sheer pleasure of seeing words and thoughts on paper.  Then, satisfied, she destroys the work for there is no need or desire to share it.  I thought only people that were mad - or, at least, people that were a bit dotty - did that.*  And, insecure person that I suppose this shows me to be, I thought I  was the only one that ever fitted this description and did such a bizarre thing.  This is why I started writing a blog: I came to the conclusion it would be quite nice to keep my work somewhere secret so that I could look at it from time to time.  I decided Blogger would be quite a good place to store it, along with a few favourite photos.  I knew, of course, that the world in theory could see it but why would anyone want to stop and read something that I had written?  It never occurred to me that some of you might do so and some even come back regularly for more.  So on my way back from the aconites I was visualising Jane and myself scribbling away and ceremoniously (for it always seemed to be part of the ritual) tearing up the sheets of paper with our precious words on them.


I had walked along our little winding river to reach the wood but struck off over the hill for the return home.  This route always fascinates me because, from the top, the valley is totally invisible tucked away deep within the folds of the landscape.  One moment the ground almost appears flat and then, suddenly you are looking down into the secret valley.  The slopes are steep and grazed only by sheep, wild deer and rabbits and are, later in the year, awash with wild flowers of all kinds, including rare wild thyme, the subject of one of my earliest posts.  I sat myself down to admire the view, for I never tire of it despite seeing it every day, and pondered on what gives a person the desire to write, to play around with words, arranging them and rearranging them for hours on end.



And then this thought came:  what do you do when words just aren't adequate to describe the sights or the emotions?  How do you describe the indescribable?  Take a photograph - after all, a photo is supposed to say a thousand words.  But what if a thousand words still aren't enough?  What if ten thousand words still aren't enough?  Besides, an image only allows the viewer to create their own words, it can never convey those that the writer might be thinking.  How do you describe the intangible?  So I sat on the bank, looking across the secret valley, muffled up against the chill east wind and came to this simple conclusion - the only way out of this conundrum of how to express these silent words is to write a post about it.



* Well, I thought she did but I can't see it now.  Perhaps I am dotty, after all :-{

PS Don't forget you can find me on Facebook now and get regular updates from the secret valley

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8 comments:

  1. Lovely photos! I'd like to see more of she-dog too.
    I am no good with words, so I hope my photos give an idea of what I'd like to say if I could.

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  2. I remember reading something particular on someone's blog - I remember the phrase, the blog name, but damned if I can find it again. Gets lost in translation - Google is very literal, if I don't quote exactly right, Not Found.
    From one of those loyal readers, you didn't expect.

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  3. Well, as I'm always saying, I'm very grateful to everybody that comments and I do remember Elephant that you do comment from time to time.
    It helps having a memorable name as you do!

    She-dog is also complaining that she hasn't been featured lately too, Kath! And I wouldn't worry about words - your posts always have lovely photos - it's a great blog.

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  4. As a friend of Jane I know how she can set off all sorts of running thoughts! I am not really sure why I write but it has become an itch which I need to scratch once a week or so or I begin to feel edgy. Mind you, I worry about the way the rhythms of my life create a sameness in my blog but that seems to be the way it is.
    Thanks for your visit to and comment on my blog. I too adored nature tables and can visualise the one in my class by simply shutting my eyes.

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  5. Ooooh I am so envious I love Springtime in England. I really miss that. Especially when the bluebells come out. I hope you will take lots of pictures of bluebells. I love the snowdrops. They are just so beautiful. I have a few in my garden but wont see those for a couple of months yet. Your pictures are wonderful and I am homesick. One would think that I could have got over that after all these years but my heart will always be in England, especially in the Spring. I was thinking the other day, I should have been a Jackdaw........I love glittery stuff haha.
    All the best
    Janice

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  6. So stunning Cotswold. Pictures speak the beauty, words are icig on the cake. Your blog always remind my good days in Cotswold. I love Burton-on-the-Water, Bibury... the snow drops in Forest Dean and the blooming daffodils.
    Terrie from Hong Kong

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  7. I just found you ..well not you in person but a comment you left on Wildlife photograph...: }
    Don't know why but here I am, and this post I so loved your description of writing..made me giggle a bit ...it is hard to put down expression and feelings and have things sound right..I liked your writing and wanted to read on!!
    I will be back from time to time !!
    My name is Grace I live in the US...

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  8. Thank you Elizabet, Janice, Terri and Grace. I'm so pleased that you have enjoyed the post and made the time to comment; it is much appreciated.

    It will be some time Janice - end of April - before the bluebells will be flowering. However, if you look really carefully amongst the dead leaves in the bottom of the hedgerows, their leaves are just beginning to push through the soil.

    Terri, I am so pleased that you enjoyed your trip to the Cotswolds. Bourton on the Water and, especially, Bibury are such beautiful places. I am very fortunate to live in such a lovely part of the world. Hope you will be back in England visiting us again very soon!

    Thanks also, Grace, for becoming my latest follower and for visiting my blog. I'm glad that it made you smile.

    Johnson

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