Winter in early July in the Alpi Marittimmi

I was once lucky enough to go walking with John Burnside when he and Andy Brown were running a course here in Devon. I noticed John took lots of photos on his i-phone of anything and everything, explaining how he might want to use the imagery in a poem – be it flowers gone to seed, odd stones, a spider web. From then on, I started to use my camera like a notebook, recording the little and big things I notice on a walk.

Water took on many new forms in The Alps where, last week, we walked up high to Winter, and back again to Summer in less than a day – a bumble bee buzzed across the snow fields, a caterpillar crawled across the snow, where a drift of snow had just melted a crocus flowered: all the seasons seemed jumbled together, each one at different stages at different altitudes.  And the sounds of the snow melt: a trickle of water beneath the snow, a hundred waterfalls tumbling down the mountain sides, wind in the snow… were all happening simultaneously as the flowers opened and closed, cow slips running to seed at one height but still yellow and perfumed further up along the same path.

ImageIl Lago delle Portette



DSC01342                  DSC01331 DSC01076DSC01084

Lost for words on the edge of the Argentera –


though the local inhabitants (ibex yearlings) say nothing at all…




About Rebecca Gethin

Rebecca Gethin is a poet and a novelist. Cinnamon Press published her third collection, All the Time in the World in 2017. Another pamphlet is forthcoming with Three Drops Press. Her second novel, What the horses heard, was published by Cinnamon Press in May 2014. Her second poetry collection - A Handful of Water - was published by Cinnamon in 2013. Her first - River is the Plural of Rain - was published by Oversteps Books in 2009. Her novel Liar Dice won the Cinnamon Press Novel Writing Award in 2010 and was published in 2011. She lives on Dartmoor and writes occasional pieces about wildlife and nature. Her poems appear in a variety of poetry magazines and in several anthologies.
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8 Responses to Winter in early July in the Alpi Marittimmi

  1. Fantastic, Becky. It looks wonderful – so many images and ideas – I hope you find time to get them all down on paper.

  2. Thank you, Mavis, nice to hear from you. The trouble really is that I do feel rather lost for words and in my imagination I am still up there in the clouds and snow!

  3. Valerie Morton says:

    So glad you’ve shared this experience Becky – wonderful photographs. Caterpillars and bees on snow and travelling from Winter to Summer in less than a day. I can almost smell the tangy freshness of the mountains.

    • Think thyme, savory, lavender and then you might catch some of the smell and occasionally you catch the stink of an ibex …… then there’s a fine spray from waterfalls and the almost irresistible desire to plunge in….

  4. E.E. Nobbs says:

    I’m so proud of – and pleased for – you and Chris. And pleased for me too – because you’ve shared your personal feelings and photos about a place where I never expect to go to…in a physical me-myself-sense. I love the photos – and I intend to do more of that “note book” taking with my own camera – here nearer sea level 🙂 Yes, the photos are amazing – partly because you show us the different scales of things – mountain peaks then insects. That photo of you sitting at that table is one I’ll treasure – and how I’ll think of you, from now on. In fact I think I’ll get an 8 x 10 enlargement printed for my wall. I imagine this trip of yours is a pivotal experience that will influence what happens next (and probably one of your “peak” experiences too!).

    Elly xx

  5. Very generous thoughts, Elly. Thanks. I wonder if it will influence what happens next! I wish it would! However, I think it has to be job-hunting time for an impecunious sort-of writer …..

    • E.E. Nobbs says:

      Oh yes, it’s BOUND to influence things… I had to hunt up ‘impecunious’ …darn… I was hoping it meant something like passionately impetuous, or something like that… xxx p.s. you’re certainly more than ‘sort-of’!

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