Saturday, 26 February 2011

Days of Pencil Sketchiness

the year pauses and takes a breath
days of pencil sketchiness
with a misty wash

spikes of last years hedge trimmings
brutally exposed
weep tears of dismal drizzle


wrapped in fog


cloud whispers to earth
 in muted undertones
 longstanding companions exchanging news
aware of each others rituals

grey days

a breather before the rush of spring

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Lambs Tails...

... or hazel catkins, if you prefer! As a child I always looked out for 'lambs-tails' and hoped to be the first to spot them... what type of tree was irrelevant then. We may have a way to go before Spring arrives, but catkins dancing on the breeze are such a refreshing sight at this time of year... flashes of yellow in an often bleak or dreary time of year in England... 

These are the male flowers of the hazel, usually the first tree flowers to burst out with colour. 
I was lucky enough to catch them on a sunny morning, which is rare at the moment.

I'd hoped to catch them before they burst out & see the first ones, 
but they have progressed at a great rate in the couple of weeks we were away. 
The baby catkins have been on the trees since last year...
 toughened up for winter & waiting 'til the time was right, 
each one like a little chrysalis.

There are plenty more still to open.... 
there is a wide variety of stages to be seen on one tree, 
from new buds to old husks that held last years hazelnuts...

I can't resist them... 
like bunches of golden caterpillars, 
basking in sunlight on their way to becoming butterflies...

The stamens of the male flowers are starting to unfurl outwards,
and soon will be releasing clouds of pollen... 

Look a little closer... 
see that little red tuft emerging from it's own special bud?

These are the female flowers... pollinated by the wind. 
Successful fertilisation only occurs from other trees,
a single tree cannot pollinate itself.

Gorgeous aren't they? And so easy to overlook.
From these will grow the fruit... the hazelnuts.
I look forward to seeing them grow.

The March edition of The Festival of Trees will be hosted by
so if you have a tree-related post of any kind
why not send her your link to include in this wonderful monthly tree-fest?

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Grey Days

Grey days with heavy skies have been predominant of late... some bright ones here n there, but the exception rather than the rule. The type of days that people tend to complain about... moaning about dull & dreary dampness. But I must confess... i like grey days. 

Not just for striking silhouettes of last years seed heads... just as beautiful in their dried out state as with their summer green... perhaps more dignified somehow... simple shapes and yes, dull colours that blend into the background on brighter days.... but these stark shapes against the grey take my breath away...

These are in-betweeny days as the year hangs between winter & spring, just holding it's breath, pausing, before the frenetic growth yet to come... grey days have an ethereal beauty that whispers to the senses, rather than shouting for attention...

Days of pencil sketchiness preparing for the full colour paintings of seasons to come. I've always loved a palette of watery greys & pencil or charcoal sketches and love the nuance & texture of pencil lettering. There are probably more shades of grey than any other colour... to explore, to revel in...

Damp & drizzly grey days... when clouds & earth sit close in tender conversation... sky, kissing the trees & curling my hair...  I feel cocooned & protected, walking between worlds somehow, comfortable with a foot on either side... mmmm, i like grey days....

ps.... essex didn't work out. we are back in yorkshire... steve managed to get another job within half an hour of jacking the london job!

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