“…the bright day is done…


…and we are for the dark.”

The back of our cottage looks towards the edge of Wenlock Edge, we atop the twenty-mile escarpment, the land dropping off to the west, falling straight, many hundred feet,  through hanging woods of beech and ash, oak and yew, wild cherry and service trees, hornbeams, whitebeams, wych elm, field maple, chestnuts, holly, hazel and lime; these the trees that settled here, each species in its own time as the ice sheet retreated from Shropshire some ten thousand years ago and the new soils built up on our 400 million-year-old upthrust seabed.

This thought of departing ice and arriving soil and trees reminds me that the climate has always changed, and is ever changing; even during ice ages there were warm periods. In one such warm phase 125,000 years ago, animals that we of the north now associate exclusively with Africa – hippos, lions, elephants, hyena inhabited the Thames basin where the city of London now sprawls. It’s quite some thought. Another is, and not so flippantly either, that today’s wind across the Edge is so bitingly frigid, that it rouses the suspicion in this gardener’s mind that we might actually be heading for colder times.

All of which is to say that the congruence of time and climate and geology have much to do with the fine skyscape displays behind our house. That the land drops away beyond the Edge provides us, on this side, with a false horizon, and thus expansive views of atmospheric activity, ever shifting and endlessly absorbing. This particular sunset (header photo) appeared during our recent brief warm spell. A few days ago it came instead with ice-pink ribbons.


Quote from Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra act V, sc 2, l 192

Copyright 2021 Tish Farrell

Bright Square #7

23 thoughts on ““…the bright day is done…

  1. Tish, the photos are lovely, but more than that, I wish I could write description as you do. What a beautiful picture you paint with words. Do I sense a current political edge or is it the philosophy of the ages of history so visible where you live?

    1. Hi Marsha. Thank you for those v.kind words. My first degree is in Prehistory and Archaeology, so my perspective on time and change is perhaps rather different from many current media narratives.

  2. I just wish we (as in the UK) could slip slightly south and lie off the coast of Portugal. The recent warm spell was very welcome. This bitterly cold northerly wind not so much.

    1. That sounds perfect, a nice southerly drift. Quite apart from the present icy blasts, I’ve been noticing a prevalence of distinctly cold air /stiff breezes over several springs now, and often into summer too – breezes cool enough to wrap fleece round things in July. It can’t just be our allotment. 🤔

      1. I can’t say that I have spent many evenings in the garden since moving here. It always seems so much cooler as the sun goes down, not to mention the midges!

      2. I think we spent two evenings at most in the garden last summer. Either things are getting cooler or we’re becoming more nesh. It could be both of course.

  3. I have mixed memories of ‘the Edge’. We love the old woodlands and walking in the Linden field; and the kids when younger enjoyed playing in the Priory grounds. But my earliest memory is from way back in the late 60s when driving back to Henley on Thames from my Aunts in Loughborough (but that’s another story!), I cracked the sump on my old Triumph Herald in an unmade car park there. It was quite late at night not long after Boxing Day but I managed to wake up the owners of a garage and buy up lashings of, (no that’s another author), gallons then, of oil that kept me going till the engine finally packed up near Maidenhead. Luckily work was only a mile or so away so I hiked the rest of the way and camped out in an old boot room for the last few hours of the night.

    We’ll hopefully visit again once lockdown restrictions are fully lifted (and the Motorhome repaired).

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