Friday, April 04, 2008

Wood walk

With an hour or so to pass - time should never be killed, it's too precious, and I don't care for it dead - in Moncontour the other day, waiting for work done on the car (still the old one), I tried to do something towards on a set of photos of the town. I've haivered about doing this, as it could easily be just a boring collection of picturesque views, but I figure it might be of interest here if I could find some different angles and details. The best view of the town and its ramparts, interesting layers of vertical perspective and a delightful flowering magnolia which is probably just going over now, is to be found on a highly hazardous bend coming down on the Quessoy road. Some people in a camping car had stopped on it once to take photographs, at some risk to their own life and limb and ours as we came upon them, and I cursed them roundly and muttered that they should go and buy a postcard.

However, Molly was not really in a mood to wait around on a short lead while I dithered about snapping at venerable stones, and I wasn't really in a mood to do so either, so we headed to the bottom of the town, past the old campsite, the recycling bins and the home helps' hangout, and took the way through the woods up that leads to the Seven Saints Chapel. A very beautiful property on the edge of town, with a bowl of open land rimmed by the woods in the valley, a confluence of streams and a fishing lake, has a notable basse-cour, with sundry chickens, ducks, peafowl and these very fine geese, which I had to stick the camera lense through the chain link to photograph.

It is quite easy to believe, looking at them, that dinosaurs turned into birds.

We didn't walk all the way to the chapel, but shortened the loop where there is a pool in the woods, with the air of a sunken forest. I stood on the old stone lintel that's been laid across one of the outflowing streams as a bridge, and allowed myself to dream into the play of light on the water going over the weir.


That stream falls down a steep bank in a pretty cascade and flows freely through the woods. The other outlet from the pool goes through a sluice gate into a walled conduit that curves gently round the valley alongside the path. Molly has swum a few times in her life, but always by falling into the water by accident, once when trying to walk on a swimming pool cover. She is always extremely pleased with herself afterwards about having accomplished such a feat, but it's not something she would choose to do. However, she does love a paddle, especially when she's rather hot and tired, and she often does so here.

The slope of the wooded ground here is such that the trees slide and fall often, and the shapes and colours and small worlds created by this are as scenic as the larger landscape. I lose myself in undulations and seashell shapes of fungus,


and microcosms and sculptures of living plants on dead wood.



The figuring in the cross sections of this series of felled trunks (below) may have been the cause of their destruction; teetering in the edge of the slope as they were, weakened by disease, it was considered better they should be pushed rather than fall. Always saddening, of course, but the strongly linear, cartographic patterns withing them, counterpointed by opportunist bramble growth, were beautiful in themselves.



Molly will usually wait patiently, seeming to have worked out that the camera is some kind of organ for receiving and processing information analogous to her nose, which I suppose it is. Sniffs and snaps should not really be hurried.

14 comments:

SpiralSkies said...

Love the frilly fungi! I always think there's something almost alien about those...

Plutarch said...

Few hours could have been better spent!

leslee said...

What wonderful finds! You may be rather proud of yourself, too! :-) Love the fungi and log patterns, and the geese. Still waiting for greenery here... Your photos made me hungry for it.

zhoen said...

A paddling dog and new growth on old.

julie said...

I love that first image of Molly - the curls of her fur and the ripples of water seem almost the same, as though she's actually part of it.

Rosie said...

I love time spent walking the dog. It is good for the soul and never wasted, especially when you take such good photographs. I might try again now I have some glasses that I can actually see through.

Granny J said...

This Julie seconds the first Julie's comment about Molly in the Pond (sounds like an old folk song). However, after I finished the post, I was hard put to decide which pictures I liked the best.

herhimnbryn said...

Magical.

marja-leena said...

FABulous finds!

meggie said...

I could not choose a favourite among your pics. Wonderful.

Dave King said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dave King said...

What a fantastic walk - and fantastic photographs, too. Especially the fungi. I don't know what it is about fungi, but they always seem to make great photographs. Best of all, though, the last one. So many good things about it, a real masterpiece.

apprentice said...

I love the bramble ones, they'd be great in B&W too.

Lucy said...

Thanks all, glad you enjoyed it, we did!