13th August, 2023. Such a beautiful morning - we climbed up to Hillside, then along up through the dappled woods, wondering what our beloved beech grove would show us today.
Of course, many of these wonderful old trees had been whooshed over by the howling, ferocious, Storm Arwen. And a sorry state the whole area is now. Although because most of the trees have been tidied up and moved away, there is now the lovely panorama of Cragside, not seen before from this angle, by us. It is quite spectacular.
However, hearing a loud mechanical buzzing sort of noise, and noticing the tarmac, we walked further over to find this incredibly tall 5G mast (I think that is what it is).
Then we noticed a considerable amount of smelly smoke coming from the diesel generator.
I wonder why they are still using diesel so long after installing this mast?
Put the sound up high, to hear the noise it makes.
Is this ironic? When we walked to edge - where the grounds of Cragside now lay out in front of us, I wondered what the name of the hill across from us is. I took out my mobile phone. Clicked on my PeakLens - Mountain Identification Android Mobile App to find out. I couldn't, though, because... you must have guessed? I had no signal on my phone!
I admit I am ignorant about mast/phones and so on. You, no doubt, know why I could not get a signal even when I was so close to a huge, noisy, mast. But it is a mystery to me.
The tree trunks have mostly been moved away now. Lots of very dry twigs and branches remain.
We continued on our way, and noted many upturned trees, still displaying their weird underneath faces - this one is particularly evocative, don't you agree?
I can see the face of some kind of tree sprite, or wood nymph, hoping not to be noticed, but giving off a vaguely threatening vibe to keep us away. What do you see?
Oh the beautiful heather!
Below you can see a contrast where the heather on one half of the path has been burned, compared to the beauty of the fully flowering heather on the right.
Birthdays, do you like them?
Today is the day before my birthday. Always a strange day for me - it makes me think about my mum. I never thought to ask her what it was like to be carrying me, her youngest and the last, of four children. What she felt when she held me for the first time. Who delivered me, in our home, in Nottingham? I have so many questions I would love to have heard her answer. So many conversations I would welcome and cherish.
I really appreciate my life so very much. How can I not, living in this most magnificent, remarkable, of places?
When Great Trees Fall By Maya Angelou
When great trees fall,
rocks on distant hills shudder,
lions hunker down
in tall grasses,
and even elephants
lumber after safety.
When great trees fall
small things recoil into silence,
eroded beyond fear.
When great souls die,
the air around us becomes
light, rare, sterile.
We breathe, briefly.
Our eyes, briefly,
a hurtful clarity.
Our memory, suddenly sharpened,
gnaws on kind words
Great souls die and
our reality, bound to
them, takes leave of us.
dependent upon their
now shrink, wizened.
Our minds, formed
and informed by their
We are not so much maddened
as reduced to the unutterable ignorance
of dark, cold
And when great souls die,
after a period peace blooms,
slowly and always
irregularly. Spaces fill
with a kind of
soothing electric vibration.
Our senses, restored, never
to be the same, whisper to us.
They existed. They existed.
We can be. Be and be
better. For they existed.
Maya Angelou. "When Great Trees Fall." Family Friend Poems, 2006. https://www.familyfriendpoems.com/poem/when-great-trees-fall-by-maya-angelou