Durham Dales

It seems only yesterday we were picking our way through the Durham Dales on a wild forage, hedges were heavy with plump fruit, blackberries our favourite, the children’s faces red with the eating. Here in our village the trees are almost bare of leaves, fun for the children while walking to school, but my mind is trapped in the last days of September. The fields seem to expand when the trees become bare. I put the jigsaw of spring and summer memories together, yet the picture remains less complete than the previous year. We seem to work harder with less time to spare. I remember the female hen harrier in early summer, gliding over the Tees in search of young grouse. I can still see the reflections in the pool of White Well on the barren roof of Cronkley Fell in Upper Teesdale. I hear the Helm Wind on Cross Fell and remember how we disappeared in the mist. Even during those few fortunate days spent in the wild places, you know it will be sometime until you come this way again. We visited Kilnsey Show in Wharefdale, North Yorkshire, during the summer and the weathered, crimson faces of men watching sheep brings a lasting memory of another summer that passed me by.


30 Replies to “Durham Dales”

  1. Sounds like you are nostalgic for the warmer weather. Your four sheep-watchers all look like very British gentlemen. I enjoyed your description of the people, children and weather in your area.

  2. Last Thursday I drove through my favorite section of Valley Forge Park, and after being away for only 2 weeks, winter arrived…bare trees, leaden skies, the woods empty of song birds. How fast time passes! We are left with memories of memories. Your gentlemen perfectly illustrate the mood of your post. They seem out of a different era.

    1. I took Doris (our Westie) for a walk around the village green this evening and it felt cold enough for snow, at least it’s a week late this year. I miss the song birds too, although our coastal NNR is filled with waders at the moment. Appreciate your kind and welcome comments.

  3. A very introspective and thoughtful post. Winters are dreary but they can be beautiful too. I hope you find some inspiration in the Winter months ahead.

    For myself, I think I managed to miss Autumn this year – I’ve been too preoccupied with moving house. My camera is getting very grumpy with me, but while it gets dark depressingly early, I find the low winter sun and long sunsets very inspiring. When the camera’s unpacked I’m hoping to be out exploring and blogging about a new area.

    1. I always enjoy your posts Yasmine. Where have you moved to? I agree about the sunsets. I managed a cracking shot of the Tees Transporter Bridge whilst at Saltholme, (looking for waders he photographs a bridge!)
      Thanks again for visiting my humble blog and your kind words.

  4. Your words make me yearn to see Teesdale and walk in your world. I live in a big city but I grew up on a farm in Indiana. There are times when I really miss being outside like I used to be…Wonderful sketch. You captured them!

    1. Thanks Linda. Winter painting helps with my SAD. It must have been wonderful to grow up on a farm. I grew up on my granddad’s allotment, not quite the same I know. Thank you for your comments.

  5. Beautiful nostalgic writing… sigh. Your people, as always, captivate me. I love the all the green tones, their boots and caps, and how serious they seem to be in watching the sheep.

  6. I am working on being in the moment and finding contentment and focus in traveling in that time zone. It does seem to make a memory worthy of notice – as does your drawing and thoughts of another season gone past.

    I do not know why the seasons seem to be moving so rapidly now, and how busy the days are and to what consequence I am not actually sure.

    I came home from San Francisco to the leaves down after a major wind storm and have to admit I feel defeated that most of my neighbors have not rallied to clean up the mess left behind.

    Will I always be part of the unpaid work force, doing the right thing, and cleaning up after others?

    I am proud to say I went walking on Black Friday and purchased nothing – did not feed the corporations, but enjoyed the beach and the foot fall..
    Nice post and I enjoyed pausing here today

  7. Patricia, there’s much wisdom in your words. I almost feel that Autumn no longer exists, as if the earth has moved closer to its correct axis and a season lost. One minute the leaves were turning, the next gone!

    I’m a Natural England Ranger in my spare time and help pick up the litter other people leave behind. It’s unpaid work, but needs to be done. I’m no longer surprised by the amount of litter we find, only that people who choose to visit such a special place as the North Pennines, should also choose to leave behind their rubbish.

    Pleased you enjoyed your walk and thank you for your kind comments. Hope Zip is well.

  8. This is so poetic sounding, really. I like the texture of the paper and that it shows through the painting in places. It enhances the idea that you are summoning these people up from your pleasant memories. Awesome!

  9. Love the gentlemen’s caps!

    Have you tried full-spectrum light-bulbs at home in the winter? They can make a big difference when dealing with SAD. One wonders about global warming – the seasons do seem to be fluctuating wildly. We had a severe winter storm in October, unprecedented in Connecticut history, and now we’re having record-breaking warm temperatures in December. I hope this winter won’t be too dreary for you…

  10. Hello – it’s interesting what people seem to be saying about Autumn – I certainly feel it’s been very short – Sept & Oct were very warm chez moi & then in November it seemed that no sooner did the trees get their beautiful colours than heavy rain pulled them off. That said, there are still quite a few leaves on the trees – so I’m feeling that having just got used to Autumn suddenly it’s about to be Christmas! Oh yes and the first narcissi started flowering in the garden over a week ago!

  11. How on earth did I miss this one. I never miss when you post….Looks like I did this time.
    I love the painting!

    I have a Christmas Gift for you,

    Merry Christmas,
    Deb xx

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