Nature’s Give and Take.

Under a Tulip tree - Bath Canal - late Summer 2011.

Under a Tulip tree – Bath Canal – late Summer 2011.

My eldest son has enjoyed his first half-term after starting school again…

He is 24 years old and a trainee teacher. He never did return home after University – the day I dropped him off at the halls of residence was the day he left home.  The 25th of September 2011 was a scorcher – in more ways than one. Golden like the city of Bath itself – that in my mind is a place that’s forever bathed in Light – and Love.  After a rushed good-bye – I ventured into the city centre with my youngest son – to look for ‘something’ I could hold onto – to remember the day.  I didn’t know what I was looking for – but I didn’t find it in any of the shop windows.

Instead of a thing – I followed a ‘ting’ that I’d heard above the busy throng of Sunday shoppers. My souvenir of the day was a soundtrack played by these guys who were busking that day. Danny Cudd and Markus Johannson – together they are ‘Hang Massive’ – and my soundtrack of the day was – is – ‘Once Again’.

Play it once again – and again – and again… 

And now – whenever I hear ‘ting ting’ – I’m immediately transported back to that far-off golden day – that’s still as intense in my mind as sunlight streaming through a Tulip tree.

One of several golden images of a place - a day.

One of several golden images of a place – a day.

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My boys taking in the rays at Baggy Point - North Devon Coast. 27-X-2017

My boys taking in the rays at Baggy Point – North Devon Coast. 27-X-2017

This half-term I have enjoyed a golden day out with my boys to Baggy Point on the North Devon Coast.  An unhurried walk up to the Point from Croyde – passing some old Whale bones on the way – and back.

All that remains of a large whale that was washed up on Croyde beach in 1915.  This moving relic of the Sea is firmly anchored at the side of the path that leads to the Point.

All that remains of a large whale that was washed up on Croyde beach in 1915.  This moving relic of the Sea is firmly anchored at the side of the path that leads to the Point.

The whale bones were preserved at the side of the path by the Hyde family – for the benefit of ALL visitors.  They gave the Bones – and Baggy Point – to the National Trust in 1939.  I thought – cor wouldn’t I just love to have it in my bone collection!!! 

Moving on – and to The Point – I saw something else in the grass that was acquirable – just – and not for my bone collection but my stone collection.  A beautiful Witch’s Heart lying on the edge of a slope that dropped away to the sea…  

Witch's Heart at Baggy Point.

Witch’s Heart at Baggy Point.

My eldest son gallantly volunteered to pick it up for me – as it was placed a lot more precariously than it looks in this photo – a bit of a cliff hanger in fact!  

Cliff Hanger!Witch's Heart from Baggy Point - North Devon. (1) 27-X-2017JPG

 

I love the way the Witch’s Heart fits my hand – and my hand fits the Witch’s Heart.  

Witch's Heart

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Baggy Point - 27th. October 2017 (2) - Something about Dartmoor

And so another half-term passes into Golden Light…

Sun and Sea off Baggy Point - 27-X-2017

Sun and Sea off Baggy Point – 27-X-2017

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“Nature’s Give and Take” a post inspired by a Soundtrack, a Whale, a Witch’s Heart, a line from a Poem – all of a Poem – and my grown-up, eldest son – Archie.  Archie holding razor shell

Graduation day. Bath Royal Crescent.


Walking Away – Cecil Day Lewis

It is eighteen years ago, almost to the day –
A sunny day with leaves just turning,
The touch-lines new-ruled – since I watched you play
Your first game of football, then, like a satellite
Wrenched from its orbit, go drifting away

Behind a scatter of boys. I can see
You walking away from me towards the school
With the pathos of a half-fledged thing set free
Into a wilderness, the gait of one
Who finds no path where the path should be.

That hesitant figure, eddying away
Like a winged seed loosened from its parent stem,
Has something I never quite grasp to convey
About nature’s give-and-take – the small, the scorching
Ordeals which fire one’s irresolute clay.

I have had worse partings, but none that so
Gnaws at my mind still. Perhaps it is roughly
Saying what God alone could perfectly show –
How selfhood begins with a walking away,
And love is proved in the letting go. 

(Written by Cecil Day Lewis for his eldest son – Sean.)

2 thoughts on “Nature’s Give and Take.

  1. Such poignant days…reminders of school summer holidays but with the special quality arising from being extra blessings. We go to Golden Cap for fossils, or Bude for mussels and favourite swimming places on the moor. A copy of the poem was given to me when my son went to Uni and is above my desk :)

    • Dear Kari – Thank you for sharing your gold with me here. I also keep a copy of Cecil Day Lewis’s searingly beautiful poem on my wall. You, me – and many others too I’d guess… X

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