Tag Archives: Holkham

Walking

A blue sky day!

Although I had several things I (probably) should be getting on with it seemed a great shame not to put my boots on and go out for a walk.

P1000326

I chose a favourite route at Holkham that takes the path through the pines behind the beach to Gun Hill and then onto the sand and back along the water’s edge.

P1000331

When I’m out walking I never know what will catch my eye and this time, inspired by the tall, straight pines, I found myself searching out similar lines. Dried willow herb …..

P1000332

and marram grass rise up above the sand dunes and dance gently in the breeze.

P1000336

The sun is quite low in the sky at this time of year and so there are great shadows. In sand ripples created by the recent ebbing tide ….

P1000344

and in a beach river that drains out into the sea.

P1000346 copy

Soft waves make lacy patterns ….

P1000348

and more dynamic lines,

P1000350

and the reflection of the sun in the wet sand makes a dramatic positive/negative as a wavelet draws out.

P1000353

The pines and another beach river create strong parallel lines,

P1000357 copy

and I couldn’t resist poking a few razor shells into the sand to make a set of vertical lines.

P1000364

Finally, a small wave is thrown into relief by a larger one behind creating a long straight line between the two.

Not a bad morning!

Advertisements

Skylark

The sun is out, and I am walking behind the dunes at Holkham with no coat on. After all the recent rain spring seems to have finally arrived and there is no better reminder than hearing the skylarks sing high in the sky above the marsh.

P1020614

The skylark, Alauda arvensis, is a small, non-descript brown bird, but its song is a complete joy. Rising from the ground it flaps its wings faster and faster to gain height, and as it flies upwards it sings. Its song goes on and on and on without a pause. If you stop and listen, it is more likely that you will give up listening before it stops singing. What is more astounding is that it doesn’t seem to stop for a breath.

P1020611

Being a flautist, I’m interested in breathing and I wondered if, like didgeridoo players, oboeists, and other wind players they could do circular breathing. Circular breathing allows for continuous sound. It is a technique where you breath in and fill your cheeks with air and then with the next breath, simultaneously squeeze out air from your mouth and breath in through your nose. It’s horrendously difficult and I never mastered the procedure.

P1020610

However, skylarks and indeed all birds can do it. Their respiration system is different to ours and their circular breaths allow for their song to continue almost endlessly.

P1020620

On Holkham beach, with the dunes and the sea beyond to my left and the skylarks singing above I am reminded of one of my favourite poems by Gerald Manley Hopkins, The Sea and the Skylark. In the first two verses he compares the sound of the sea, both low and high tides, and the musical sound of the skylark. Here they are:

On ear and ear two noises too old to end
Trench—right, the tide that ramps against the shore;
With a flood or a fall, low lull-off or all roar,
Frequenting there while moon shall wear and wend.

Left hand, off land, I hear the lark ascend,
His rash-fresh re-winded new-skeinèd score
In crisps of curl off wild winch whirl, and pour
And pelt music, till none’s to spill nor spend.

P1020621

I’m sorry not to have been able to take a sound recording for you, but have a listen to the skylark’s music pelting down from the sky here.