Grass With Blue Sky

Week In Focus #43

This is #43 of a weekly Photo Challenge that I set myself – there is no particular theme. The idea behind the challenge is to get myself outside into the Cumbrian countryside, at least once a week.

  • This week’s photo is of grass.

Weak, slender blades of tender green,
With little fragrance, little sheen,
What maketh ye so dear to all?
Nor bud, nor flower, nor fruit have ye,
So tiny, it can only be
‘Mongst fairies ye are counted tall.

No beauty is in this,— ah, yea,
E’en as I gaze on you to-day,
Your hue and fragrance bear me back
Into the green, wide fields of old,
With clear, blue air, and manifold
Bright buds and flowers in blossoming track.

All bent one way like flickering flame,
Each blade caught sunlight as it came,
Then rising, saddened into shade;
A changeful, wavy, harmless sea,
Whose billows none could bitterly
Reproach with wrecks that they had made.

No gold ever was buried there
More rich, more precious, or more fair
Than buttercups with yellow gloss.
No ships of mighty forest trees
E’er foundered in these guiltless seas
Of grassy waves and tender moss.

Ah, no! ah, no! not guiltless still,
Green waves on meadow and on hill,
Not wholly innocent are ye;
For what dead hopes and loves, what graves,
Lie underneath your placid waves,
While breezes kiss them lovingly!

Calm sleepers with sealed eyes lie there;
They see not, neither feel nor care
If over them the grass be green.
And some sleep here who ne’er knew rest,
Until the grass grew o’er their breast,
And stilled the aching pain within.

Not all the sorrow man hath known,
Not all the evil he hath done,
Have ever cast thereon a stain.
It groweth green and fresh and light,
As in the olden garden bright,
Beneath the feet of Eve and Cain.

It flutters, bows, and bends, and quivers,
And creeps through forests and by rivers,
Each blade with dewy brightness wet,
So soft, so quiet, and so fair,
We almost dream of sleeping there,
Without or sorrow or regret.

Emma Lazarus
Grass With Blue Sky
Grass
Abandoned Farmhouse

Abandoned Farmhouse

For years, I’ve driven past an old farmhouse near the village of Pica in West Cumbria and always thought to myself that I’d love to grab a photograph. Yesterday, I finally achieved that goal.

The old building is currently used for storing silage. It would make a lovely home if someone out there had the money, time and patience. Mind you, the farmer might not sell – I wouldn’t if I had property in such a location.

Farewell To The Farm

The coach is at the door at last;
The eager children, mounting fast
And kissing hands, in chorus sing:
Good-bye, good-bye, to everything!

To house and garden, field and lawn,
The meadow-gates we swang upon,
To pump and stable, tree and swing,
Good-bye, good-bye, to everything!

And fare you well for evermore,
O ladder at the hayloft door,
O hayloft where the cobwebs cling,
Good-bye, good-bye, to everything!

Crack goes the whip, and off we go;
The trees and houses smaller grow;
Last, round the woody turn we sing:
Good-bye, good-bye, to everything!

Robert Louis Stevenson
Abandoned Farmhouse
Abandoned Farmhouse, Pica
Windswept Wheat Field

Week In Focus #42

This is #42 of a weekly Photo Challenge that I set myself – there is no particular theme. The idea behind the challenge is to get myself outside into the Cumbrian countryside, at least once a week.

  • This week’s photo is of a windswept wheat field, in West Cumbria.

Wheat
Hulled, beardless
Eating, gritting, flouring
Such feelings of happiness

Breakfast!

Windswept Wheat Field
Windswept Wheat Field
Bumble Bee

Bzzzzzzz

Most bumblebees are social insects that form colonies with a single queen. The colonies are smaller than those of honey bees, growing to as few as 50 individuals in a nest.

  • The word “bumblebee” is a compound of “bumble” + “bee”—”bumble” meaning to hum, buzz, drone, or move ineptly or flounderingly.

Bees! Bees! Hark to your bees!
“Hide from your neighbours as much as you please,
But all that has happened, to us you must tell,
Or else we will give you no honey to sell!”

A maiden in her glory,
Upon her wedding – day,
Must tell her Bees the story,
Or else they’ll fly away.
Fly away — die away —
Dwindle down and leave you!
But if you don’t deceive your Bees,
Your Bees will not deceive you.

Marriage, birth or buryin’,
News across the seas,
All you’re sad or merry in,
You must tell the Bees.
Tell ’em coming in an’ out,
Where the Fanners fan,
‘Cause the Bees are just about
As curious as a man!

Don’t you wait where the trees are,
When the lightnings play,
Nor don’t you hate where Bees are,
Or else they’ll pine away.
Pine away — dwine away —
Anything to leave you!
But if you never grieve your Bees,
Your Bees’ll never grieve you.

Rudyard Kipling
Bumble Bee
Bumble Bee
Bridge End, Egremont

Bridge End, Egremont

The River Ehen flows through the historic market town of Egremont in West Cumbria. The river supports the largest freshwater pearl mussel population in England. The river is also a breeding ground for Atlantic salmon.

At Bridge End, in Egremont, the river flows past terraced houses overlooking a sometimes raging torrent, and then onwards to the sea. The River Ehen is overlooked by Egremont Castle – a historic castle dating from around the first millennium AD.

In 1565, a stone bridge was built over the River Ehen to access the town. In bygone days, dyeing and weaving were traditional industries based around the River Ehen.

I have come a long way to-day:
On a strange bridge alone,
Remembering friends, old friends,
I rest, without smile or moan,
As they remember me without smile or moan.

All are behind, the kind
And the unkind too, no more
Tonight than a dream. The stream
Runs softly yet drowns the Past,
The dark-lit stream has drowned the Future and the Past.

No traveller has rest more blest
Than this moment brief between
Two lives, when the Night’s first lights
And shades hide what has never been,
Things goodlier, lovelier, dearer, than will be or have been.

Edward Thomas
Bridge End, Egremont
Bridge End, Egremont
Crummock Water

A Gleam Of Sunshine

This is the place. Stand still, my steed,
Let me review the scene,
And summon from the shadowy Past
The forms that once have been.

The Past and Present here unite
Beneath Time’s flowing tide,
Like footprints hidden by a brook,
But seen on either side.

Here runs the highway to the town;
There the green lane descends,
Through which I walked to church with thee,
O gentlest of my friends!

The shadow of the linden-trees
Lay moving on the grass;
Between them and the moving boughs,
A shadow, thou didst pass.

Thy dress was like the lilies,
And thy heart as pure as they:
One of God’s holy messengers
Did walk with me that day.

I saw the branches of the trees
Bend down thy touch to meet,
The clover-blossoms in the grass
Rise up to kiss thy feet,

‘Sleep, sleep to-day, tormenting cares,
Of earth and folly born!”
Solemnly sang the village choir
On that sweet Sabbath morn.

Through the closed blinds the golden sun
Poured in a dusty beam,
Like the celestial ladder seen
By Jacob in his dream.

And ever and anon, the wind,
Sweet-scented with the hay,
Turned o’er the hymn-book’s fluttering leaves
That on the window lay.

Long was the good man’s sermon,
Yet it seemed not so to me;
For he spake of Ruth the beautiful,
And still I thought of thee.

Long was the prayer he uttered,
Yet it seemed not so to me;
For in my heart I prayed with him,
And still I thought of thee.

But now, alas! the place seems changed;
Thou art no longer here:
Part of the sunshine of the scene
With thee did disappear.

Though thoughts, deep-rooted in my heart,
Like pine-trees dark and high,
Subdue the light of noon, and breathe
A low and ceaseless sigh;

This memory brightens o’er the past,
As when the sun, concealed
Behind some cloud that near us hangs
Shines on a distant field.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Crummock Water
Wheat Field

Thoughts In A Wheat-Field

At the moment, local fields are a lovely golden colour with Wheat ready for harvesting. Rain has currently interrupted farmers from collecting their crop, but as soon as there is a dry spell, they’ll be out in the countryside in their Combines. Hopefully the rain hasn’t damaged their crop, as moisture content is pretty critical.

Did you know? Wheat was first harvested over 12,000 years ago, with its origin being traced back to south east Turkey. It is one of the most successful food crops with 25,000 different varieties!

In his wide fields walks the Master,
In his fair fields, ripe for harvest,
Where the evening sun shines slant-wise
On the rich ears heavy bending;
Saith the Master: ‘It is time.’
Though no leaf shows brown decadence,
And September’s nightly frost-bite
Only reddens the horizon,
‘It is full time,’ saith the Master,
The wise Master, ‘It is time.’

Lo, he looks. That look compelling
Brings his laborers to the harvest;
Quick they gather, as in autumn
Passage-birds in cloudy eddies
Drop upon the seaside fields;
White wings have they, and white raiment,
White feet shod with swift obedience,
Each lays down his golden palm branch,
And uprears his sickle shining,
‘Speak, O Master,–is it time?’

O’er the field the servants hasten,
Where the full-stored ears droop downwards,
Humble with their weight of harvest:
Where the empty ears wave upward,
And the gay tares flaunt in rows:
But the sickles, the sharp sickles,
Flash new dawn at their appearing,
Songs are heard in earth and heaven,
For the reapers are the angels,
And it is the harvest time.

O Great Master, are thy footsteps
Even now upon the mountains?
Are thou walking in thy wheat-field?
Are the snowy-wingèd reapers
Gathering in the silent air?
Are thy signs abroad, the glowing
Of the distant sky, blood-reddened,
And the near fields trodden, blighted,
Choked by gaudy tares triumphant,
Sure, it must be harvest time?

Who shall know the Master’s coming?
Whether it be at dawn or sunset,
When night dews weigh down the wheat-ears,
Or while noon rides high in heaven,
Sleeping lies the yellow field?
Only, may thy voice, Good Master,
Peal above the reapers’ chorus,
And dull sound of sheaves slow falling,
‘Gather all into My garner,
For it is My harvest time.’

Dinah Maria Mulock Craik
Wheat Field
Wheat Field
Ennerdale: Smithy Beck Walk

A Golden Forest Trail

Ennerdale offers up great opportunities for walking, with over 30 miles of public rights of way, forest roads and tracks. My forest image was captured at dawn, while following the Smithy Beck trail. The forest was bathed in magical golden rays of light, that appeared to be dancing among the trees like the spirits of untamed nature.

  • The Smithy Beck Trail starts and finishes at Bowness Knott car park. The walk is ideal for families but is not suitable for most pushchairs as the path is narrow in places.

The Tale Of The Forest

Mighty emperor is the forest,
High dominion does he wield,
And a thousand races prosper
‘Neath the shelter of his shield.

The moon, the sun and Lucifer
Do round his kingdom ever sphere;
While lords and ladies of his court
Are of the noble race of deer.

Hares, his heralds and his postmen,
Carry rapidly his mails;
Birds his orchestra composing,
Springs that tell him thousand tales.

Midst the flowers that grow in shadow
By the streams and in the grass,
Bees in golden clouds are swarming,
Ants in mighty armies pass …

Come, let us again be children
In the woods we loved of yore
So that life, and luck, and loving
Seem a game and nothing more.

For I feel that mother nature
All her wisdom did employ
But to raise you over living
And of life to make your toy.

You and I away shall wander
Quite alone where no one goes,
And we’ll lie beside the water
Where the flowering lime-tree grows.

As we slumber, on our bodies
Will the lime its petals lay,
While in sleep, sweet distant bagpipes
We will hear some shepherd play.

Hear so much, and closer clinging,
Heart to heart in lover’s wise,
Hear the emperor call his council
And his ministers advise.

Through the silver spreading branches
Will the moon the stream enlace,
And around us slowly gather
Courtiers of many a race.

Horses proud, as white as wave crests,
Many-branching horned stags,
Bulls with stars upon their fore heads,
Chamois from the mountain crags.

And the lime-tree they will question
Who we are; and stand and wonder,
While our host will softly answer
Parting wide his boughs asunder:

“Look, o look how they are dreaming
Dreams that in the forest grow;
Like the children of some legend
Do they love each other so”.

Mihai Eminescu
Ennerdale: Smithy Beck Walk
Ennerdale: Smithy Beck Walk
Ennerdale Water Sunrise

Morning Has Broken

Morning has broken,
Like the first morning,
Blackbird has spoken
Like the first bird;
Praise for the singing,
Praise for the morning,
Praise for them springing
Fresh from the Word.

Sweet the rain’s new fall,
Sunlit from heaven,
Like the first dewfall
On the first grass;
Praise for the sweetness,
Of the wet garden,
Sprung in completeness
Where his feet pass.

Mine is the sunlight,
Mine is the morning,
Born of the one light
Eden saw play;
Praise with elation,
Praise every morning,
God’s re-creation
Of the new day.

Eleanor Farjeon
Ennerdale Water Sunrise
Ennerdale Water Sunrise