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.
Lost for words on the edge of the Argentera –
though the local inhabitants (ibex yearlings) say nothing at all…