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Woodsmoke and sunshine

January 13, 2012

As the clear-up continues of trees felled by the winter storms, the policies around the castle are dotted with bonfires. At dusk, the fires glimmer under the trees, sparks dancing up between branches. (It has been so wet for so long that we don’t need to worry about the sparks setting anything alight.)

Day and night, the air is scented with woodsmoke, and we return from walks with the bonfire smell on our hair and clothes. This being one of my favourite smells, I see it as some consolation for all the lost trees. And when the low winter sun shines through branches, twining the smoke in its beams, it creates a half-land of magical, mysterious beauty. The boys step across the barriers of smoke almost fearfully, instinctively conscious of crossing a threshold into the unknown. Each of us finds ourselves thinking of faerie-land, the golden halls of the sídh, into which a mortal may not trespass with impunity. Then the boys run back, laughing with relief, still here: all this otherworldly radiance is just smoke and sunshine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are some more musings on faerie and transitional spaces in Ariel’s Song and The lure of the liminal.

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25 Comments leave one →
  1. January 13, 2012 8:57 pm

    Absolutely magical, DB. I almost expected to see Galadriel stepping out from behind one of those trees. Such a gift, to capture evanescent beauty like this.

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      January 13, 2012 11:00 pm

      Thank you. Yes, I think I half expected to see her too. It was even more ethereal in real life.

  2. January 13, 2012 9:06 pm

    I see you got some natural lines in, then!

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      January 13, 2012 11:00 pm

      Ha, yes, I hadn’t thought of that! 🙂

  3. January 13, 2012 9:15 pm

    Amazing photos. It does look magical.
    I love your writing here: ” half-land of magical, mysterious beauty. The boys step across the barriers of smoke almost fearfully, instinctively conscious of crossing a threshold into the unknown. Each of us finds ourselves thinking of faerie-land, the golden halls of the sídh, into which a mortal may not trespass with impunity. Then the boys run back, laughing with relief, still here: all this otherworldly radiance is just smoke and sunshine.”
    What memories they will have!

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      January 13, 2012 11:01 pm

      Thanks for the compliments! I certainly hope they will remember moments like this.

  4. January 14, 2012 2:53 am

    You really are a beautiful photographer. Such a good eye for the light. Thanks for the trip to faery.

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      January 14, 2012 7:10 pm

      Thank you, Lisa. I was interested to read in your own blog that you ‘write because you can’t draw’. That struck a chord in me. I loved drawing as a child, and I think I take photos because I can’t draw to my satisfaction. And I write because I can’t take photos to my satisfaction: and vice versa. So I suppose all this dissatisfaction is what leads to creativity! 🙂

  5. aubrey permalink
    January 14, 2012 6:31 am

    I can just smell the smoke, as if both earth and trees had taken to the air and condensed into the rarest of perfumes.

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      January 14, 2012 7:12 pm

      What a beautiful image. That is indeed what it smells of.

  6. January 14, 2012 9:44 am

    Lovely photos – thank you. For those of us – is it only me? – who don’t leave the office building between 9 and 5, your blog is the much needed bracing afternoon walk that would otherwise have to wait until the weekend. Our dog is house bound at the moment and I don’t know which of us is more desperate to run barking around the forest.

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      January 14, 2012 7:17 pm

      Thanks for writing this, Julie, I’m so glad to hear that this blog provides something for you. In fact, you are precisely the sort of person I have in mind when I’m writing: the office worker cloistered behind concrete walls, who dreams of walking in the woods and smelling the earth. That was once me: having escaped, I am happy to share my good fortune here. Hope you soon get your chance to ‘run barking around the forest’! 🙂

  7. Sophia permalink
    January 14, 2012 3:02 pm

    Beautiful, beautiful photos!

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      January 14, 2012 7:18 pm

      Thank you, not that I can claim any credit. It was just such a beautiful scene.

  8. hmunro permalink
    January 14, 2012 7:12 pm

    Once again, I can’t decide which is more beautiful: Your photographs, or your prose. Wow. Just wow, DB. 🙂

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      January 14, 2012 7:20 pm

      I’m lappin’ it up here… 😉 No, seriously, thank you. I just go out there and point my camera!

  9. Erika W. permalink
    January 14, 2012 11:24 pm

    Your writing and photographs are so evocative it almost hurts. I have long memories, now returned to me, of leaf and branch bonfires in my childhood and roasting eggs and burning our fingers seeking them after a while and the smoky wonderful taste of them.

    I continually marvel at your kindness in sharing your home with us If anyone deserves to live there, you do.

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      January 15, 2012 6:21 pm

      What a sweet thing to say, Erika. Thank you.
      I have never tried roasting eggs in a bonfire: marshmallows seared on sticks is about the limit of my bonfire cooking skills!

  10. January 15, 2012 10:55 am

    What an incredibly beautiful sight to walk about in! Thank you for sharing these photos of the wonderland you’ve been living in. And I am sure that philosophermouse is right and that this will turn into even more beautiful memories for your boys.

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      January 15, 2012 6:25 pm

      The boys will, I trust, have wonderful memories of childhood in years to come. What they will probably remember from walks, though, is Mummy stopping all the time to take photos and look at trees, and saying ‘oh, look how beautiful it is’, when all they want to do is get on to where the tractor’s parked so that they can pretend to drive it. 😉

  11. January 16, 2012 10:47 am

    Entrancing photogrpahs and prose. I agree with Julie Dean. Your images and writing take me (a 9-5 office worker in Sydney) to another place. I know you have a reality to live it too, but your blog takes us all to somewhere else for a short time.
    and Dancing Beastie and Lisa – I draw because I can’t express myself in words or photography

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      January 16, 2012 11:29 pm

      This is one of the best compliments I could hope for on this blog, as it tells me that I am achieving a little of what I hoped to achieve here. Thank you, Alissa.

      Intriguing to hear that you draw. Isn’t it interesting the way all of us humans share a need for expression? I suppose at the most basic level it’s just that we are social animals, and survive as a species by communicating with each other. Out of that biological urge – and then our constant dissatisfaction at our own attempts! – comes all human creativity.

  12. Toffeeapple permalink
    January 18, 2012 2:33 pm

    Beautifully captured images, the like of which I have never seen before.

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      January 18, 2012 4:29 pm

      Thank you, Toffeeapple. Wasn’t I lucky to be there at the right moment?

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