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Sharing the Words from a Walking Diary

by James on June 2nd, 2011

I’ve kept diaries or journals that document my visits to different places on and off since I started my degree in 1993.

They help me to connect with a place by giving me a space within which to record my thoughts and feelings, and to make drawings, rubbings etc.

A lot of the time the text itself doesn’t really have a role beyond the book or page, it’s more about processing the experience for myself, but I thought I’d try sharing some of it here.

The writing is almost like automatic writing, its wasn’t written to be seen, but to get down quickly and smoothly the essence of my experiences of that place at that time.

This is a short extract from some pages (see photo above) that I wrote a couple of years ago when visiting Savernake Forest for the first time in a few months.

‘Back in the Forest, paths leading off to the sides of us, worn and trampled by feet that follow each other through the crumbling, layered brown leaves.

Deer slots and boot treads mixing and working the thinning leaves into rich dark soil, in stripes that move away across the Forest floor.

You can hear your movements here, hear the pencil move against the page, feel and listen to the slide and squealch of flat soles pressing waterlogged clay.

Sharp toothed Chestnut leaves are lain in drifts, wet and thinner than paper, vague shapes shown through them.

And all the time, up above the trees, in the tops or unseen in the sky, buzzards call back and forwards, calls rising up and falling down, shrill and mewing.

Fallen fragments of branch lying on the oak leaves seem to echo signs, letters or symbols, like an ancient alphabet cast down, or runes from the arms of the high, empty oak – forking, pointing, clad with blue-green lichen or stripped to a soft yellow brown, they offer themselves to me on this bed of leaves.

Its been talking to me, all the time this Forest has been whispering, pointing, from faint piping bird calls to tinkling, whispering dried grass stems in the wind. Its like a welcome home, half heard, and new again.’

Savernake Forest – 21st January 2009


3 Comments
  1. wondersofnature permalink

    Wow. I got goose bumps. You transported me to that place…

    • Thank you Julie, that’s wonderful – really appreciate you taking time to comment

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