I’m calling this a ‘word picture’ as I had no camera (I won’t bore you with the reasons why).  So, I was finding alternative ways to record and reflect on our last visit to France. The location here was just below La Réserve Naturelle Bois du Parc, Bourgogne (Burgundy). I recorded around 20 minutes in time, or maybe longer, just going with that which most struck my senses and any connected thoughts…

Sun drops

lichen,Burgundy

One picture… lichen. By Amanda Tamsin.

Out of woods with lichened trees and down to the oak tree, which a neighbour once told us had healing powers for those who are tired.  Sitting under it now, a gorgeous, wide and round tree that Fred and I know well.

The sun is just beginning to drop behind the treeline on the other side of the canal.  Fred is at its bank.  A crow has been cawing.  Other birds are tweeting, sometimes at length but with tunes that go nowhere, that disappear…  Water laps as fish surface.  A train passes with its warm engine sound.  Sky and water pale, pastel blue and cream.  Trees are silhouettes and reflections, slightly skeletal.  It’s not yet winter.

A cow watches Fred from the other side of the river, black and white.  In the dimming light, its face is like a ghostly mask from a Japanese animation.  Fred raises a hand to wave at it (as he does with seagulls and cats too).

Another bird whistles, dusky sounds.  Now I hear crickets.  A chill rises, softly but surely, from the lake.  I can feel it in my arms (it rises from the earth here too).  The smell is woodier now, damp bark and humus.  Less resiny than before, when we walked through the cliff-top woods.

Looking left, a blush of red a few hundred metres away, a lone tree of this colour, by the water.    In front of us, the sun has almost vanished, leaving a drifting butter-cream glow.  A farmer starts on the earth, his machine sounds old, clattering iron.  (Having laid down against hay bales in nearby fields to watch shooting stars, Fred and I know it’s not uncommon that they work at night).

Last notes…  A barn owl whistle-screeches twice and flies low along the other side of the canal, broad beige wings. It dances briefly with a crow.  I sketch brief outlines of the scene in biro and we move on.