Along the tracks

SAMSUNG CSC

There’s something exuberant about the blooms of August.  As though summer, knowing it is on its last legs, throws all its efforts into a medley of colour before its time is over.  It is the season of vivid purples and zesty yellows: great tangles of willowherbs, thistles and buddleia bordering knots of ragwort, great mullein and weld.  And the lush white bindweed trumpets creeping nefariously over them all.

SAMSUNG CSC

Nowhere is this more obvious than along the tracks.  This is railway country, the place where the ‘father of the railways’ was born.  George Stephenson built his first locomotive to transport coal down these tracks.  The county is scored with the remains of the old lines, waggon-ways that ferried coal from the Great Northern Coalfield to the river Tyne.  It was first carried on wooden tracks in horse-drawn carts, then on metal rails by stationary steam engines hauled by ropes and finally by steam locomotive.

SAMSUNG CSCThese days, no locomotives pass this way, except perhaps in dreams in the dead of night.  The rails are long gone, replaced by paths.  Lined with hawthorn hedges, abundant in wild flowers.  Birds, hares and other creatures inhabit these tracks now, burrowing into the banks and flitting through the hedges.  Whereas once they were noisy with heavy industry, now they are peaceful trails in the midst of towns.

SAMSUNG CSC

In this topsy turvy and unsettled year, my creativity hasn’t followed its usual path.  I struggled to feel the celebration of summer and bring my box of dreams to fruition.  Yet something strange has happened in the last few weeks.  When I venture out, all I see is potential.  Fat, glossy rosehips, scores of blackberries, elderberries and haws.  Most still green, some beginning to turn, but only the potential of what they will become.   And my creative energy has suddenly revived: I find myself fervently writing, reading and submitting before the final harvest comes.  Like summer, I am giving the season my best efforts before the autumn tide takes over.

101 thoughts on “Along the tracks

  1. Beautiful words as always. I find fall often sparks a burst of creativity. Things stagnate for me in the summer. Of course, having kids returning to school and life going back to a routine is probably what contributes to this, but I also think there’s a certain feeling in the air in autumn that makes us want to hunker down and accomplish something.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “Ripeness is all” I think Shakespeare said… Andrea this is such fantastic writing: evocative, lyrical. It demands to be read aloud. I’m stealing it phrase by phrase and I’m going to try imitating it.

    Like

    • And it’s riper by the day, those blackberries and rosehips are ripening very nicely. Thanks Bruce, I’m happy you think it’s worthy of imitation – we all have our strengths, you write great comic writing, often with a dark side – something I could never do 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Interesting that your creativity is rejuvenated just as summer is fading. Happy to hear it and to read it in these lovely words and see it in your photos, too. Flowering everywhere!

    Like

  4. Whenever I read a post from you Andrea I just want to get out there armed with walking boots and camera …and that is exactly what I am going to do .
    After a weekend visit that started well , then ended in disaster …I need to re-charge my batteries .
    It’s been a toppsy turvey weekend like your toppsy turvey year …so let’s make the most of the season . Thank you for reminding me 😊
    Cherryx

    Like

  5. Have been noticing and relishing all the late summer lushness too Andrea, especially after being away and coming back to find everything overgrown with a late flush of the most tremendous, unruly wildflowers….and yes, my inspiration has suddenly caught up with itself and now feels like a bottleneck, urgently trying to get out. Must be something in the air.

    Like

  6. I expect your many fans have expressed it all (;-)), but I just wanted to say that those ‘barren’ times aren’t empty void-like places we (I) always fight and flinch away from, but are those vital ‘spaces-in-between’ we all need in order to collect, to meditate, to simply be; or for me most of all, it is to allow some peace – that jumping off the merry-go-round, in order to be able to hear that small, all knowing voice inside that says, “Yes. This is where I’m going next!” Or something like that 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I love those tracks Andrea, and the reminiscing of the industry that went before is just sublime. We have a deserted track running through the countryside near here – a victim of the Beeching era – but that too is now a haven for wildlife, joggers and cyclists. A train ride through these depths of rural Surrey has been lost forever – and I love the perspective you get from a train’s window. The most magical train ride I ever took was from Edinburgh to Newcastle in my career days – I was transfixed by the views out to Lindisfarne and that wonderful coastline which I’m intent on revisiting at some point. I think you must know this area well….lucky you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I do know that area well Jenny, it’s wonderful for us, we can start from my home town with its ancient priory and then it’s castle after castle plus wonderful scenery all the way up the coast 🙂 I do love a train journey – the journey from Newcastle to Carlisle is also a lovely scenic route along the Tyne Valley and I always loved the journey down from Carlisle into Lancashire, through the rolling hills. We’ve got much to be thankful for.

      Like

  8. What a lovely post Andrea! I love seeing the rich and herbaceous flowers billowing along the path. You did a wonderful job of describing the coal transport and the trains clanking through, and really made the old world come alive. How great that the tracks were revived into beautiful walking paths instead of left to rust or decay. The photos and your words were gentle and peaceful….lovely.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m envious of that fervor. Since the move, mine has faded away. I love how you know the names of all the vegetation. There is a lot in bloom in my new environment, and I wish I knew the names of them all. Next time you see one of my photos on my blog, let me know the name of the plant I post. Heh. I have no idea, but I take photos of the bounty around me. If you know the names of the flowers on my “Shift” post and on my “New Beginning” posts, let me know. I know nothing about botany, and can barely spell the word correctly, but still enjoy the rich nature around me. I appreciate that you share the beauty around you, too.

    Keep up the good work and good luck with your submissions.

    Like

    • The fervour has been a long time coming this year Lori, so I’m happy to welcome it now! I only know so many plants from looking at them and looking them up and there are still lots I don’t know – the ones on your new beginnings post look like some kind of Iris, but I’m not sure about those on Shift!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh yes, that’s right, those flowers were Iris’. The yellow ones on the Shift post look like a bell. I looked it up, but the yellow bell flowers I found didn’t really look the same. Thanks, Andrea.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m like Carrie — summer is hard on my creativity, and I blame it on lack of time to myself. I suppose I could get up earlier than 4 am, but I’m not sure that would do my body any good! 🙂 Autumn will be good for me because when the kids are in school, I get an hour here, 30 minutes there, and I’m able to really connect with my muse.

    I’m so glad that your creative energy is at full throttle!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Oh, what a wonderful comparison, Andrea (the burst of summer end to writing inspiration). I’m a strange one who loves the fall. For me fall is a time of reaping, cleansing, enriching my roots to incubate through winter. I hope your change in creative pattern will follow you into fall as well. I’m anxious to turn another season with your words 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I hear a ghostly train whistle amidst all this bounty — a metaphor for your embarkation on this new creative journey! I’m loving this boisterous August too. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Andrea, great to hear that your creativity is thriving again.
    Railway tracks have long fascinated me ~ even when the tracks are gone. There is always a sense of moving forward when thoughts of tracks flash upon the inward eye.

    Like

  14. Oh Andrea, I am so thrilled to read that your creative energy has returned! I know just what you mean about this time of year, as August winds into September and the blackberries ripen and the days draw a tinier bit shorter and turn a little fresher. I love your tracks, thank you for sharing the history of them, I find this fascinating. I can just imagine you standing there, in the peace and quiet of an August evening imaging the sounds of an industry long gone. How the face of our great British countryside has changed. Lovely writing and photographs as always. I hope not to be away too long, and it is good to know that our bursts of creativity are bursting forth along a similar timeline. Your capture of the seasons energises me 🙂 I wish you the very best with your submissions and look forward to catching up with you very soon. Take care 🙂

    Like

  15. Isn’t it wonderful when the creative juices bubble up and flow again? I’ve always loved the time of year when the summer heat becomes replaced by cooler, dryer air. And nature starts to shift gears into fall. Beautiful paths to walk and ride. The last photo especially could be in my town. I see several familiar plants.

    Like

  16. I love the photographs, Andrea. But, even more, this: “And my creative energy has suddenly revived: I find myself fervently writing, reading and submitting before the final harvest comes.” It feels selfish to say, but I’m so glad to be reading the fruition of your creativity, too. I feel so lucky. Wishing you a happy, healthful writing week. 🙂

    Like

  17. Makes me think of what grows regardless of our hard work and allowing or feeling like we aren’t working enough-that somehow always the creation is happening even if not visible. A lovely tapping into your fruits and, as you said, preparing for harvest.

    Like

  18. Those tracks are calling to me Andrea – I’d never tire of walking/jogging/running along them. Maybe there are some bits and pieces that remain from the railway and industrial archaeology interests me, even more than the lovely flora whose names I don’t know 🙂

    Like

    • There are plenty of tracks to keep you going Roy, not much left from the railway on the actual tracks – there are bridges and we do have a section of steam railway which is now a railway museum, plus George Stephenson’s old cottage is nearby.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. I’m so glad to hear your creative spark is returning. Although, truth be told, when reading your blog posts I find it hard to believe you’re struggling! Autumn is normally a restless time of year for me, which sometimes results in increased creativity. I’m afraid it will be stifled this year, though, by a heavy work load at the day job through September. Here’s hoping the weekends will at least be spent with the manuscript.

    Like

  20. You have such beautiful countryside in your part of the world. So wonderful to see Mother Nature reclaim the landscape so abundantly. No more pollution from steam trains. It sounds as if you’ve reclaimed your creativity, too, Andrea, which is excellent.

    Like

    • Thanks Sarah – we do have one steam train left, as there’s a small railway museum alongside one of the tracks, but the train usually only runs on Sundays down a short track – and I do love to hear its whistle! But there are so many little havens for wildlife, including in the overgrown parts of the museum itself.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Just beautiful and how exciting to be in the flow. Whenever I read your blog I think it’s only going to be a matter of time before I’m holding a book of yours in my hands and feeling absolutely thrilled at the prospect of reading it.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Love your photographs, Andrea! One of my best childhood memories is walking on railway tracks. I still remember the smell, and the hissing sound the rails make as the train approaches…
    I wish you best of luck with your writings!

    Like

  23. Andrea I am in a bit of a rutt, I think it has to do with the weather too, but spring is not far off and I hope new growth can inspire me to write and create again. Loving your walking track, so pretty. The blossoms are just coming out here so spring will be upon us soon. Look forward to hearing about all your writing adventures as always your posts are beautiful.

    Like

  24. This is the first post of yours I have ever read, Andrea and may I say I find it beautifully lyrical in its description.
    Yes, to each season a colour or colours. I love the idea of summer giving it one last extravagant trumpet of deep, drowsy colours before the ochres and earth tones of Autumn arrive.
    Wonderful!

    Like

  25. If I taught a creative writing course, I might tell students to start each writing session by reading your latest blog post. As you know, your blog is one of my absolute favorites. Your writing is such a glorious blend of sensual and spiritual. Just saying.

    Like

  26. oh I feel that slowing of movement that August brings, so wanting summer to linger a bit longer. Beautiful sentiments and a beautiful road – I love the purple spires. Your descriptions are so beautiful. In Scotland I saw fields of wild magenta lupins!
    Looking forward to reading more! You do sound like you are in creative stride!

    Like

  27. That’s great to hear – I hope your creativity will keep blooming along with the flowers. It’s funny what an effect the seasons have on us. Spring and fall seem to be my best times for writing. Maybe there’s more magic then. The old train tracks around here have also turned into bike paths. I love the bike paths but I miss the idea of those romantic trains. Your paths seem pretty romantic with all those wildflowers though!

    Like

  28. Ah the ebb and flow of all of life––creativity and inspiration included.
    I loved wandering the abandoned tracks, rich with floral hues with you, Andrea. What a lovely hike, feassting the eyes on the photographs and feeding mind and soul with your lilting words. Thank you!

    Like

  29. Yes, we are soul sisters! This is exactly how I felt as I wandered through August paths of wildflower blooms. Perhaps we are both wild flowers, blooming as we create, creating as we bloom. Here’s to the freshness, now, of fall, and new crisp creativity.

    Like

  30. Andrea – You had me with the first photo. I immediately wanted to grab my walking shoes and walk down the road and through meadows of what appeared to be endless fields of flowers. I adore wide open meadows of flowers. Our summer has been so hot, everything meant to be cared for by mother nature has withered and dried completely. I’m anxious to prepare the soil for seeds. Again, you’ve captured my heart and soul with your photos and your prose.
    Congratulations on the returning winds that lift your spirits and speak of writing and productivity in the way you want once again.

    Like

I love comments, please leave a reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s