Some further photos from my return to the Forest, this time deeper within the shrubbery and depths of the forest where much of the melting snow only reaching the very tops of the tree arches high above and open areas not secluded by the pines and firs. I particularly notice those grooves notched into the earth where stumps of previous trees once laid and where the dirt was laid higher along trenches for the planting of the tree life. The snow from the other side of the neighbouring land not having trees dotted on every inch but instead wide open meant that the brilliant white light of the snow penetrated through to our forestry – adding a white rim light like ghostly frozen fog to the already ominous scene and highlighting those curvy, warped grooves of the tree linings, trunks and tendrils. Pointing and staring towards the direction of the neighbouring snow makes the scene feel like an angelic view of a world not far from reach and one that you cannot help but float blindly towards, the many seemingly empty holes in the ground from badgers and foxes makes you wonder if they have come-hither towards the light too.
I promised I would return to this enchanted forest this Winter after reliving the memories that this forest holds with a recent kick about reflecting on the words of Robert Frost. I did return to the forest when we got a dumping of snow and I relished in all its sensory overload.
As I was editing these pictures I could hear the birds, I can feel the clean air through the bristles of my beard, I can hear the sound of melting snow dropping from the Spruce’s above into a water filled trench below, I can feel myself watching the water ripple as the drippings lapped the forest colours in a mesmerising kaleidoscope, I could feel the snow squelch beneath my boots as I walked further and further. I could feel it all as if the images from my laptop imploded into a projection around my room in an augmented reality of memories and senses.
This is where you do lockdown right, how you spend your time correctly in a worldwide pandemic. In a place and surroundings that don’t feel like it has been gripped by the turmoil of Miss Rona. It doesn’t feel like anything is starkly different here because in all reality, it isn’t. It is untouched and it always will be. I miss the sheer joy on my dogs faces as they jumped with glee to see that I was taking out the leash from the shed to go on another daily adventure. I miss my neighbours allowing me to hop over the fence in their yard and trudge through the shite in my wellies to find mini universes iced over in the ponds and lakes that weave amongst the surplus of trees. I miss the smells, I miss the air, I miss the peace. I miss it.
I feel spoiled that I was able to experience the snow that settled around the Emerald Isle while I was back home and now I got to experience it in the concrete Jungle that is London. A pattern began to emerge where unbeknownst to me I started to find red amongst the white snow while getting lost in boroughs and roads I have not seen before.
The weather here has turned typical and Irish, grey, misty and mild and with it my mood taking a hit. I am just glad I made the most of the frosty golden hour walks and revelled in the gleams of these photos, showing crystallised ice refracting the sunlight like diamonds and sprouting chiselled white coconut flakes.
Icy Escapades; exploring rural Ireland is a frosty delight. White disk bubble explosions mimicking silver dollar plantsbeing trapped among island like greenery underneath the ice, like little moons illuminating the inhabitants of these nebulas as they hibernate.
Milky swirls interrupted by sprouting spiky brambles that loop in and out of the ice like a dragons tail frozen in time or a serpent sinking below the undergrowth along with the limbs of arachnids reaching for something no longer.
It was lovely and frosty here today, the ground well into the afternoon still having uncracked puddles with white speckly paint strokes and air bubbles frozen in time as icy metallic spirals meander around pebbles.
I continued along the frozen puddles peppered along the backroad until the road disappeared into the vegetation and I where I started to get lost in the forestry ferns, sitka spuces’s and speckled birch trees, where the light of the crisp golden hour evening lit the land in a brilliant gold.
We were lucky enough here to get a small sprinkling of snow, I headed out with my camera and the dogs for a stroll in the bogland where most of the snow dissipated apart from being laid on top of the rich brown peat – mimicking icing sugar on an overcooked brownie. Rust red ferns with melting snow was a swirly delight to photograph – like little leaf portals to a tree dimension, inspired by Phil’s latest stunning frost ferns seen in thelatest kick about. I’m hoping we get a proper lashing of snow and that it sticks so that I can go for a gander up the picturesque trail of my neighbours field that overlooks the rest of the countryside, showing a patchwork blanket of varying patterns and colours of the neighbouring nature.
The music of this weeks Kick About prompt over on Reds Kingdom felt very christmasy and warm indeed. To me nothing feels more christmasy than going for a walk in the countryside of Ireland where the invigorating air hits you with pure refreshment and the frost glistens the shrubbery and flora. I spent a lot of my time when I was a young lad outside building rickety hideouts and treehouses with my friends and cousins. Going for a walk near my family home always feels like I am dipping into my memory fault where walking past a particular tree will spark a memory of us building and climbing away, walking through the grasses of the fields reminds me of being cut by barbed wire and being so dumbfounded by having fun that I didn’t realise I was bleeding with barbed wire marks in my palms.
I remember the beehive that was camouflaged into the ground of a particular field in perpendicular view from the balcony of our home, when all us had awoken the beast I can only imagine the sight of seeing us all running and screaming our heads off from the balcony as we ran for our lives away from the angry hive. Memories like that are scattered around the countryside of Ireland, they will echo as I stroll past them and now that I am older I can really appreciate them. Although all the hideouts and treehouses are dismantled, the trails that were grinded down are now full of vegetation again, It’s the clean air and the bright stars that haven’t changed.
Although isolation has for now stopped me from revisiting those actual areas of my past I remember them as I walk through the bogland surrounding my Mams house where I know I would have been in my element too when I was younger. I am still drawn to those picturesque areas and the crisp clean air, and I really appreciate the little bird houses built into the trees to shelter the birds in the bitter winter. I still sometimes walk past a particular tree and think – that would have been a good one.
I’ve always known Ireland as beautiful, particularly the vast countryside where the earthy browns and rust reds of the bogland flora swish and merge in the gentle refreshing breeze. I remember visiting this bogland in the spring time where the now endangered frog spawn would have the time to flourish into full grown vivid green frogs that completely littered the bogland during a trip when it was lashing down, frogs would leap and ribbit throughout the high grasses landing on my wellies and the odd time ricochet off the fur of Prince and Rocksy our golden lab and boxer who were less than impressed. It was a moment something David Attenborough would be proud of and a moment in untouched nature that I cherish.
This weeks kick About over at Reds Kingdom – The Woods are Lovely, Dark and Deep by Robert Frost can be viewed here. With my offering for this weeks prompt below.
“My family owns a few chunks of land in rural Ireland, one of which is the forestry and pictured here on a typical misty, wintry morning in the back arse of nowhere. The forestry is populated with pine trees and used to house some of our horses – Dawn, Jessy and the majestic Esmerelda along with the cows. The animals are no longer, unfortunately we sold them off for whatever reason. The stables still remain with sprinklings of hay still scattered around its edges and when the weather calls for it – downy flake. I remember the forestry and the surrounding areas with utmost joy as it houses a lot of fond memories of my rambunctious, pubescent teenage years.
Me and my cousin and a family friend used to creep around our houses in the dead of night, tip toeing about the place to steal whatever booze and cigarettes we could find until ultimately my parents noticed the dwindling of the expensive, ancient wine in our wine cellar; and subsequently bought a padlock (that I got a hold of and got a key copied). Sometimes I would steal a cigar or two from our unbeknownst slumbering parents and when the weather was bitter and frosting over the pavements – as most harsh, Irish winters are, we used to meet up and collate all of our stash together, we were once lucky enough that a friend who would join us sometimes managed to score some poitín – an Irish illegal moonshine that is so strong it can apparently make you blind… it certainly didn’t have that of a dramatic affect on us but fuck, it burned our chests as it went down and our vision was definitely impaired after drinking enough of the liquid lava.
We drank and smoked into the early hours of the morning sliding and jumping on the frosty, black plastic wrapped bales of hay, thee odd time we played music that we recorded off the tv on our Nokia phones, we sat in the cold that we no longer felt and looked to the stars and chatted about probable nonsense with the night in Ireland being as black as the void, the stars would glisten and litter the sky in a spectacle, dancing even in our inebriated states; Esmerelda, Dawn and Jessy and of course the cows would gather around us watching with perplexing bemusement. little tuffs of smoke would be plumbing out of the surrounding houses chimneys in the distance as they started to burn out. I’m not sure why we mainly did this in the flesh tingling cold of winter or why I remember it the most, I think we just wanted something to do, something that made it feel like summer again.”
Some of the trees in the forestry have since been cut down and sold off, a pavement runs through its centre which thankfully is starting to return to nature with grass and wildflowers starting to grow over it. The pine trees are being used for Christmas trees with them being chopped down and installed as the yearly Christmas tree in the shithole that is the town I grew up in, probably somewhat of a beacon for the paralytic drunks that live inside the copious amounts of pubs perpetrating the Christmas tree. I don’t feel sorry for them this year. They can fuck off and find some other vice to get through the Christmas; or they can just drink themselves to oblivion in their own homes. I shall revisit the forestry when I return home this Christmas where I think echoes and visions of my memories will resurface.”