Three recent finds from what has become an almost daily walk here at the head of the valley, crossing the Dunnerdale Beck twice. My vague idea was to walk the same track for at least a year – to observe and remember, without taking notes, or ‘responding’ through artistic means. I thought that perhaps duration was important here. That if I got the chance to observe the same landscape, and walk the same track, for a full year, then I would be better prepared to ‘respond’ when the time came. It’s now been 18 months and more, and what I’ve learned is that each day is different, regardless of the preceding year. Today I talked to a man who has lived in the valley for over 30 years, and he remarked on the profusion of small umbellifers that congregate the meadows and verges – the like of which he has never seen before.
I’ve occasionally allowed myself to collect certain findings. In a way these speak more eloquently than I ever could. The tiny bird’s nest is particularly exquisite, fashioned almost entirely out of a knot of sheep’s wool threaded with moss, lichen, hair and feathers. I found it in the verge and so small is it that I can’t help but think that it was brought down by a gale before it was completed.