Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Sprung Springing

What a year it's been so far; its as if I've been on some crazy circus ride that's had me spinning round whilst jumping up and down, whilst juggling, twirling a hoop on my left ankle and breathing fire! At least no-one's made me wear a sparkly spandex suit - yet.  Perhaps a more appropriate analogy would be that I feel like one of these lambs, dashing about the field; jumping, leaping, prancing, skittering, whizzing around for no good reason other than that the sun is shining, their bellies are full and it's fun!

Really what I've been doing is making, making, making. Beautiful things for people who describe exactly and precisely what they would like,

or things for people who let the Spirits decide what's right for them. I love this one - it was an epic, a Green Man on the face of the drum and Celtic knot-work all around the side. Fergus really excelled himself, The Green Man was an image he'd been wanting to put on a drum for a long time and although this is the best picture I've got of it, it in no way conveys the power of the image or the gravitas of this particular drum when you are in a room with it. It was made for a man who, it turned out, is a true Kelt.

I have also sometimes made beautiful things just because they need to be made, or at least I need to make them. This is the shed skin of an grass snake I think, although I'm ashamed to say that I can't actually remember, it was a gift given many years ago and the details have faded.

I've been running workshops too, where participants have made some extraordinarily beautiful things; like this little hand, burned into the inside of the wooden hoop of a drum with a pyrography tool,

And this rattle; the creator amazed by how proud she was of what she had made. I love it's simplicity.

I've been teaching workshops in a new venue, which I also love. Green Hill Arts in Moretonhampstead is a great place to work; lovely room, lovely people, lovely location. The room I use is beside and above the actual gallery (which is well worth a visit). To get there you walk through the church yard, lovely in it's own right, which is next to The Sentry, which is a field belonging to the people of Moretonhampstead. It's for playing and fairs and story tellings and whatever else you want to do in a field, and it's adjoined by other fields and a labyrinth of footpaths and bridleways that lead all around the beautiful green-that-is-getting-greener of Dartmoor.

And at the end of the day, I've been gardening in every spare second - outside each night until it gets completely dark.  If you are a regular reader of this blog you will know that this (and every other) season, is my favourite season of the year.

All the tidying and planting has been overseen by my faithful old helper.

I rediscovered some old steps, they only lead up to a hedge, but I've cleared away years of fallen leaves and transplanted a rose (which I'm happy to say has survived the experience and seems really happy in it's new home) and we can now sit on the bench in the morning sun. This is the first part of the garden that the sun greets as she rises and I have had a few blissful morning cups of coffee surveying the newly tidied and planted scene below me before I get to work.

The windmills are there to keep the marauding crows and pigeons and probably a few others off my peas! And yes, if you are a proper gardener, you will have noticed that my pea sticks are too fat, but they were what I could find last night at about 7.30, so they'll have to do!

Among the many who flitter among the hedgerows at dusk, my heart is a blackbird; singing. For the purposes of blog-continuity I should be saying that it is a starling - just because it's been a starling who's been filling the garden with his effervescent cadences for the last few days; this fine fellow has been standing in the branches of the maple tree, puffing out his chest and positively hollering out his repertoire of strange bird folk songs, hurling hymns of joy and courtly hankerings into the warming air, morning and evening, sounding as if he is attempting to seduce the sun herself - "stay a moment longer, stay that I may sing to you, stay" - but I can't be a starling, because I am a blackbird.

I have loved every kind of black bird my whole life and have felt their presence always; it was no surprise when we moved here to discover that our house shelters a little way down a hill, most of the way up which stands Raven's Tor.  Named so because it looks like a raven's head, but also it is the site of a raven's nest. The ravens fly around the valley kronking and kraaking, their wings making a rushing-of-feather-in-wind noise as they fly past. I know no other sound like it, it makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up and my singing blackbird heart erupt into a joyful cacophony.

This morning as I sat on my newly positioned bench I heard the first cuckoo far off in the distance. Yay, it's official, the swallows are here, the cuckoos are calling and summer is a-comein' in. Which means that when it snowed this afternoon, turning all that I could see of the high moor white, it felt a little disconcerting. Here in Britain we're on about the same latitude as New Foundland, it's only the Gulf Stream that keeps us so warm usually. As the ice melts in the Arctic the Gulf Stream is cooling. Sad and Strange times.

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