May 2011

Miss Potter’s country

These are just snapshots…some day I hope to return, without children, and with the time and
space and quiet to take some more thoughtful photographs, but I am glad to have these photos that captured my favorite day in England. A new friend drove us all around a small portion of Cumbria…starting here around Derwent Water. This was my first glimpse when we got out of the car, and tho’ I tried to be a little more subtle in my reactions to what we saw all day, this really is what I felt, moment after moment..heart leaping, spirit floating, resisting the urge to lay myself down upon every obliging field and hillock.
After our long ramble around a portion of the lake, a boat ride (neither walk nor ride coming close to where Miss Potter was filmed or where the real Miss Potter spent many summers with her family), and a lovely vegetarian meal al fresco, we went on to briefly visit Keswick, then the Derwent Pencil Museum (delicious cream tea!), Castlerigg stone circle and home across fells with a stop halfway to let the fell ponies greet us through the open car windows and a three-quarters-of-the-way-home-stop at tiny whitewashed pub for the loveliest beer I’ve ever had.
Such a day.
*Please excuse the higgledy-piggledyness of the the alignment of my photos and text.
Blogger doesn’t seem to be agreeable to me making my photos larger than usual, tho it had better get used to it as my aging eyes prefer it!*


Dunbar, Scotland
I took this photo almost exactly two years ago, with my head and shoulders poking out of the rooftop window in our b&b in Scotland. I can’t say that I want to be back in that particular place again, but I am longing to go back and find new places to get to know. Two years ago I felt amazed to have returned, after twenty-some years, but it was a rather busy time and our family passed around a stomach virus that put a bit of a damper on our days. There were also many lovely moments and even exalted ones…and I am ready for more.
My attachment to Britain is life-long, tho’ I’ve never known how to account for it. It is just there, deep within me. I felt it in my feet on the cliffs of Cornwall many years ago…and in the ancient, mossy forests. I felt it two years ago walking the hawthorn-edged lanes…climbing the stiles from field to field…enjoying a hard cider by a pub fire. I don’t consider myself an Anglophile, tho’ I am “a person who is fond of or greatly admires England or Britain“…but it is more than that. When I was a young woman, I had very romantic notions about England (and Wales, my favorite country back then). Those notions may still be within me, but what makes my eyes prick with tears these days, or sends shivers up my spine is all that I see there that is mindful and cherished and on a more human scale that I am able to easily find here…the accessibility of the countryside, vegetarian and organic food, walks, lovely pubs and tea shops, book shops, post boxes…
near Derwent Water, Lake District
…the land, the sea…the land. Oh dear, now I am really missing it all! I know it is because it is the anniversary of our being there…but it is also because we are in a betwixt-and-between place this Spring. There are the constant ups and downs of caregiving that we still haven’t become accustomed to, and in just a few weeks our seventeen years of home-schooling will come to an end as my youngest son graduates and an empty nest looms. I am learning how to re-orient my home-making towards (and from!) something other than mothering…tho’ rather falteringly. The perspective that comes from travel, from being elsewhere, would be so welcome now, but I shall just keep finding it in other ways. Re-arranging furniture has been much on the agenda around here, that is always helpful. And I have been finding quiet hours…in the sometimes-sleepless hours before dawn, or alone with my notebooks in the afternoon to think about it all, to plan new rhythms…and to revisit certain dreams that were put away before.
In the meantime, while we are shifting rooms and making our way through these endings and beginnings, I hope you will indulge me as I post some photos from our 2009 trip to Britain…in the few weeks to come. I never properly chronicled it then, and it will feel soothing to do so now. And I will keep reading my British books and watching my British shows and visiting my British blogs…when I want to be elsewhere, but have so much to be present for here.