Rolling

It has been more than a year since I climbed to the sundial. I would often walk here near dawn, when I had to visit work’s HQ, just across the road, but I haven’t been here since before the first lockdown. We come at midday on a Sunday, the sun unrelenting. The song of a robin accompanies us as we step into the reserve. We pass the butterburr patch, where the flowers are blooming, purple heads tilting towards the sun. Hazel and hawthorn branches clickle and clackle in the wind as we walk a path between them. Then through an embrace of bushy scots pines, until we reach the water.

The ponds are opaque and mucky green. Drowned alders droop towards water that looks thick and lifeless. The water birds are in hiding. We turn to the hill path. Cowslips scatter the grassland and a few primroses have yet to open. Predominant are gorse and blackthorn. The lemon of the gorse and the white of the blackthorn vivid in the landscape. At times they are threshold trees, pointing the way to a meandering path.

A wild wind whips around the top of the sundial. They say we’ll have snow tomorrow, but that seems difficult to believe. The horizon is clear. I see a ship passing behind the distant lighthouse, watch the turbines turning out at sea. It is just past noon and the sundial’s shadow is unequivocal. It’s looking a little neglected: graffiti on the gnomon, broken glass on the ground. A couple exercise by running up and down the steps. Two women and a spaniel join us at the peak. We see a couple of bees. A pair of great tits. A magpie.

In the lonely hours of the night, winter steals back in. Snow flirts in the shadows leaving just a sheen of ice on the morning grass. For the next week it comes and goes, small whirling flakes that appear without warning, while the sun also shines. I watch from the window as I work. One night it stays, gracing the rooftops and the ground with a light covering. The sun shines and it looks like spring, but the cold is bitter.

Time has been on my mind. In these last two years it has stretched and bent, lingered and vanished. Memories pile up, often making me cringe and shrink. But I remember things too, things I liked, things that influenced me – things of another age. Watching Prince Philip’s funeral, I find myself thinking about endings. I wonder if everyone gets to an age where each death, each pause, seems to signal the end of an era we think of as ours. If life is a general knowledge quiz, then I’m getting to the point where I no longer know the answers.

Still, spring rolls on. The hedges are fresh with hawthorn leaves and blackthorn blossom. The cherry blossom buds are about to unfurl. The grass has had its first cut. There are some bluebells in the park and the dandelions are blindingly bright. And I move on too. My wintry paintings move towards summer colour. I send out stories, Some are rejected. I send them out again. I don’t know all the answers, but I know how to keep moving.

83 thoughts on “Rolling

  1. Andrea, your post is so deep and light at the same time. I feel at peace walking there with you through your words. Like you I love nature and feel
    the dependence of all the gifts it gives.
    The images you added are so full of joy and talks about lighter times.

    Miriam

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Very evocative post, Andrea. I love your drawings. I do feel with Prince Philip’s funeral , another curtain is being drawn over the remnants of World War II and the last of the early 20th century. Spring seems to be more capricious than fall, shifting from Winter to Summer and the back to Spring. Hood luck with submitting your writing.

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  3. If life is a general knowledge quiz, then I’m getting to the point where I no longer know the answers.” Same here. But it’s freeing to give up on trying to know all the answers.πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes spring is definitely with us….and I am loving it. I am at the stage in life when I am thinking about endings. I was 75 in January and it really woke me up to the fact that time is moving very quickly. Along with commissions and writing, during lockdown I organised a lot of stuff for my children in the event that I suddenly kick the bucket:)
    I found Prince Philip’s funeral to be very moving and actually liked the fact that it was so small and intimate. All of this reminds me to live every day to the full no matter what’s going on. Janet. X

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Lovely paintings, Andrea.

    Such an ambivalent time of year. Should feel full of life, but still there’s death. Flowers and buds one day, snow the next; warm, then cold. Nature’s way of marching on, I guess, as we must do also; sometimes two steps forward, then a step back, and so on. But always progress, toward…something new and different, yet to be discovered.

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  6. Your spring is so similar to ours here in the northwest corner of the US. But the past week has felt more like summer, with temperatures as high as the mid-seventies and no cloud in sight. Not usual for April. We usually have more rain and some sleet, although we had some sleet/snow the other week.

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  7. Your writings bring time to a standstill. They make me intensely aware of larger than life presence of Nature and seasons.The intensely picturesque and descriptive journeys take a metaphysical dip now and then. What you have written about gradual passing away of an era is hauntingly true. Sometimes I find it hard to believe that I belong to this place anymore. People and things have gone never to return, and taken away a way of life with them. Your paintings are in tune with your writings, and force one to reflect.

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  8. You chronicle the changes of the season so well. The fine details enliven your descriptions to make them real for me who is so very far away. Here the summer has been reluctant to leave, yet we are increasingly getting chillier weather interspersed with the heat. We enjoyed a light rain yesterday, the first for months – a day too late to quench the flames of a fire that tore through the grass covered mountains, but enough to dampen everything down and to sweeten the air previously filled with acrid smoke.

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  9. We’re moving again after such long restrictions and being out in the country is uplifting! The gorse still shines and gives us hope! Andrea, I love your paintings! The sheep in the meadow makes me smile 😊

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  10. The last reflective section, about growing older – brilliant! I, too, am puzzled about some of the answers, but I keep moving forward, always forward, unwilling to give up ground gained.

    I was there with you, my friend. Excellent writing!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Hello, Andrea, I hope you are well. Yet another cracking post, it has got the old cogs turning that’s for sure.
    I still haven’t seen my first Brimstone of Spring yet, but I will, God willing. Mind you, on saying that, I have seen my first Orange-tip and Holly-Blue, and yesterday the Willow Warbler returned.
    Nothing is guaranteed, not even tomorrow; so I like to soak up as much of what I see and hear today just in case.
    Your mention of Gorse brought back memories of Spring Walks I used to take on Kelling Heath in Norfolk. The memory of the aroma of coconut and the song of Woodlark, finding my first Wryneck, are as vivid now as if it happened only yesterday.
    There are so many people who enjoy your writing, Andrea, and so many more waiting to be introduced to it; so keep banging on that door.
    I look forward to your next post until then take care; speak soon.

    Mick.

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  12. Oh, Andrea, I am loving the colours in your paintings! They are so vibrant, so full of life, so positive. Fabulous.
    I absolutely agree, I no longer know the answers either. I was so surprised at how effected I was by the death of Prince Philip and, you are right, it is what we have always known. There has been so much change in the past year which is weird since it’s so been a groundhog year, that I need to get better at it.
    Thank you for a thought-provoking post.

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  13. Someone commented that your post was deep and light at the same time. I agree. It seemed fitting for Prince Philip to go first somehow as if he had not purpose without her. Thanks for taking us to the sundial. Yes, we may not have the answers but we must keep moving. And you must keep writing.

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  14. I love the way you paint with words as well as with pigment. This a beautiful evocation of that liminal time between seasons and between phases of life.

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  15. Yes, as soon as I begin to read your posts I feel my body relax and lighten. I don’t know why because some of the philosophy is heavy. It’s so true that the longer we live the more we realize how little we know. But perhaps we also begin to realize that we’re not supposed to know. We’re just supposed to BE. And that is what you do when you go on these meanderings in verse and on foot. You teach us all to BE.
    Your paintings are marvelous. Keep up with every part of your artistry. πŸ’š

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Another beautiful and reflective post, Andrea, which had me pondering on the parallels with my own life at present. I love those paintings! Keep on moving 😊

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  17. Those are beautiful paintings, Andrea. Gorgeous.
    Your thoughts about time make me think about this time we’re in – this weird time of addition and subtraction and distortion too. Some days I find it indescribable and I always look forward to your posts, because somewhere in there I will glean an insight and I’ll say “Yes – there. That’s exactly it.”
    This week we got the news that someone we knew and liked has died of Covid – the first person we actually know that has died of it. He wasn’t Phillip’s age, but elderly – and still it’s rattled me a lot. He was a person of such great gifts and his life has been cut short by this awful virus which his wife also has now.
    I’m glad you are writing and submitting, Andrea. I am holding faith for you, that your work will reach the eyes of the right persons and your work will be published as you wish. Hugs, my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I very much enjoyed your thoughts and wisdom here, Andrea, as I always do. You have a gift for weaving in deep thoughts while making daily observations. Your photos were wonderful and it was great to see the sundial again. Also, the paintings were lovely, I liked the sheep face in the wildflowers. And I espec. liked your concluding line: “I don’t know all the answers, but I know how to keep moving.”

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  19. Time sure has stretched and bent! It feels like forever. It feels like yesterday. It feels as if it just goes on and on and on. It feels like there is no time at all.
    That sundial is amazing!

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  20. Wow! That is one humongous sundial – I was wondering what you meant at first before I saw the photo! Very impressive although a pity about the graffiti and broken glass.

    Your post oozes with the gentle reflection of life, intertwined with nature and time, that elusive time which we all try to capture, as it slips away from us once again. Just as our understanding of life seems at times within our grasp before it flitters away! Your paintings are delightful and vivid, adding their own sparkle to the season!

    A beautiful post as always, Andrea and a soothing joy to join you upon your walk and musings. xx

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  21. Your colourful paintings would make lovely art cards, Andrea!
    Your poignant post touches on the grief I sometimes feel at the time lost in hugs forsaken and festive gatherings postponed even though there have been many gifts in time found (for reading, puttering and long walks on safe paths), writing allows us to capture moments that might slip through our fingers, anchoring us in the present, suspending time for a few precious moments.

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  22. Keep moving, we must. We also have to remember to give ourselves permission to take breaks (so long as they are not actually procrastination.) There is always much to do, and it’s a good thing, right? Rolling right along with you, Andrea, from my little spot across the pond. Be well.

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  23. It is always so peaceful to enter into your world and walk with you. Love the sundial and to see Spring rolling along through your eyes. Thanks for another beautiful post.

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  24. What can I say Andrea except reiterate that which has already been said by your many readers. A thoughtful and uplifting post – full of hope and joy and of things to come. Happy days …

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