8 Jun 2012

The Patterns of the Fields

As you may be aware by now I am very fond of good writing about nature and the countryside, and sometimes I find a good piece that I think you would enjoy as much as I do - this is one I have found that I would like to share with you.

The home of my childhood, eternal and green, appears before my inward eye, and I live again in the brightly-coloured circle of hills where I was born.  No matter where I am, I seek unconsciously for resemblances to that beloved spot.  A draught of spring water, an uncut hedgerow, a broken wall, these bring back visions so real that I cannot tell in which life I am living, the present, or the crystal-clear past, when as a child I ran with arms outstretched to catch the wind down the well-known grassy hillsides.

There are curling hedges which hold protecting arms round odd little fields, and dark lichened stone walls cutting and dividing the green, and everywhere there are woods, beech woods, a flaming fire in the back end of the year, soft as clouds in Spring, oak woods, rough and sturdy, plantations of dark fir and tender larch, and mixed woods of many colours and sounds, sheltering fox and badger, woods full of enchantment.

A portion of that land I know so well that I can see the contours of the hills, the patterns of the fields, the irregularities of the diverse landscape as plainly as if they were painted before me.  I know every flower-filled ditch, leafy hedge-bottom, and daisied bank, better than I know the lines of my own hand, for during all my earliest years my senses had no distractions from the daily scenes of wood and field and hillside.  They became part of me, like the cold air I breathed, and I had no conception of other lands beyond our own farm and its neighbourhood, the country side which filled the crumpled circle of England displayed before my infant eyes.

written by Alison Uttley from 'Ambush of Young Days'