wild places

The lane in winter

 

LEARNING TO LOVE THE WINTER?

Almost every day for the last four years, I've walked the same route; through a wood, down a lane, across a field and back into the wood. Four times I've watched as the wheel of the year turns, from spring to summer, from summer to autumn, from autumn to winter and from winter back to spring.

And for most of that time, I've taken photographs along the walk, every day. I call it hedgerow-watching.

My aim is to record the passing of the seasons, looking for the changes in nature as they happen - a photographic fieldnote. But being an artist, I also try to find something beautiful or appealing and something that captures the mood of the weather or the quality of the light or simply sets my creative juices alight.

These are the photos I post to my Instagram account each day.

It’s become a spiritual and artistic practice. A calm way to begin the day, with time for reflection, thought and deliberate attention.

Admittedly some seasons are easier to capture than others, and some are more photogenic than others. Spring, with it’s sudden burst of energy, hedgerows of blossom and the intense bright newness of green is the easiest of all.

Autumn naturally lends itself to the camera, unless you’re particularly unlucky with the weather. Summer, a little more difficult, but by no means impossible. But winter, oh winter, what do we do with you?

An English winter can be a drab affair. We can experience weeks upon weeks of grey, dull weather. When all the leaves have finally fallen and the banks of the hedges are bare earth, it can feel as if we’ve been driven into a monochrome existence. Frosts and snow are magnificent, but these can be rare, as they have been this winter. Yes, there has been snow - unpleasantly late in the season too, but it’s hardly compensated for the months of unrelenting grey. Frosts? I can count the pretty ones on the fingers of one hand.

This winter has forced me to look closer than ever before to find the beauty.

I am more than ready to be warm and to see the return to green. But I’ve tried very hard to see winter’s charms and perhaps I’ve learned to love them.

I hope to have much more practice...