Thursday, 16 September 2010

turning season

Each day now there is a difference in the colours of the fellside and its flora. The uniform greenness of summer has gone, leaving the landscape features more sharply delineated and defined, especially when the clouds part and the sun, now much lower in the sky, floods out, leaving a shadow behind every undulation  After 24 hours of gales, weaker leaves and twigs have been stripped or shredded and outer leaves are turning golden, yellow or russet as trees starts to rest their growth. Grass has gone from bright green to dull, and some to orange and red. After driving heavy showers the water in the swollen gills is peaty brown.

The shelter, too, has been stripped of its cover again. the twine and the fabric have been ripped. The wooden supports, though, have held firm.
At first I didn't feel inclined to do anything with it; perhaps it was time to abandon the exercise. But as I set about clearing the felled sycamore, I realised that this process was as important as creating the artwork. It was a simlar process, too, in  that it is iterative; I construct a shelter, the weather changes it, I repair and change it some more, and so on, gradually adapting to changing conditions. The charcoal remains from my fire had been displaced. It was a while before I deduced that this was by water from the overflowing gill. I looked for my bottle of water, but that must have been swept away. So much seemed to have changed in the space of just a few days that it drew me into an unwitting stream of thought about the polarity of attachment and loss. It was at this point that I decided that I would stick with the shelter and keep on adapting and changing it in response to circumstances. At times I would drive change and at others, be driven by change. Now I found myself with the billhook, hacking off the protruding branches from the top part of the felled sycamore trunk, and finding a place and a function for it in the shelter. As I do this, moss-covered bark peels away. The fallen tree with its moss and colonies of insects will now adapt to new conditions.
Close to where the tree stood I discovered another stump. The top where the break had occurred - perhaps many years' ago - is host to a riot of lichen. Perhaps this was a model of  for the future of the shelter.

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