February at Gosling Sike by writer in residence Susan Cartwright-Smith

Photo: Susan Cartwright-Smith

Guest blog by Gosling Sike writer in residence Susan Cartwright-Smith including a poem This Land Is A Gift.

February 2020, Gosling Sike - Susan Cartwright-Smith

The rain is forming instant and expanding targets in puddles, and springboarding off naked trees as I arrive, but I am sensible to this county and its weather, and have wellies, quick-dry activity trousers, and hooded raincoat to protect me from the elements.

There is such potential here – this is a new site, with a whippy handful of young trees dreaming of being an orchard, and a pond expectant of frogs.

Out over the field, the older, wiser wood waits. It can be reached by a link footpath skirting the farmland. And this is a relationship that is interesting  - farmed land, carved land, reclaimed land and wildwood all co-existing. The wild has been tamed somewhat, but is old and is known.

The land has been gifted, to make it viable, to make it a crafted wilderness. The choice of tree, the management of path, the construction of pond, these will provide opportunity to see “wild – life” in a managed state.

Woven around the found landscape are lost words – The Lost Words by Robert MacFarlane and Jackie Morris bring their spells and songs to the pond and pathway, and remind us of that which never went away. These are old words, and anyone who moves through the landscape remembers them, but we need to keep them alive, sing the wild songs, and whistle the wind’s tune, serenade with birdsong and frogsong, and watch our world turn.

This land is a gift, and our present is mobile and changing.

This land is a gift by Susan Cartwright-Smith

Reflection in puddle

Photo: Susan Cartwright-Smith

This land is a gift

and in the present I

am welly booted plashing through the sodden ground

which holds the secret the land will yet unwrap.

In this parcel of land

we will find the words

which may have once been hidden,

tease out from curling leaf

Hedgerow at Gosling Sike

Photo: Susan Cartwright-Smith

or see reflected in a raindrop

the truth and worth that we possess.

This land is yet to shine,

as under lowering clouds,

the rain buds on scribbled branches.

But we are patient. We can wait.

The gift is yet to present itself.

The warmth of spring within a heartbeat,

a footprint.

This land is a gift.

Susan Cartwright-Smith
Gosling Sike
February 2020