Thursday, 22 October 2009

Art and Worship

On Saturday and Sunday G took me to Dunham Massey and to Westonbirt in search of some Autumn colour. Comparing the photographs I took this year with last its pretty obvious that this October is much less colourful than 2008. That didn't stop me from filling my SD card with lots of autumnal images however, especially at Westonbirt, where the trees seemed in danger of being outnumbered by dogs and people.

Some people seemed much less respectful of the trees than the dogs though, I saw at least 3 grown men plucking leaves from the beautiful Japanese Maples. Their beauty is fragile enough without us helping them along (helping nature to its grave seems to be a particular human pastime).

Then again, it's the fragility of this autumnal beauty that gives it a deeper resonance, and makes it, like all rare things, all the more precious and poingnant. The last few leaves clinging to the branches are the saddest and the sweetest.

I took a few treasures home with me from Westonbirt and Dunham Massey (all windfalls, of course), including these chestnuts and their pods, which I've been drawing. I love Dunham Massey, I've been there 3 times and always at this time of the year. There's a magical atmosphere particularly in the deer park where the deer seem to have remarkable patience with us interlopers. One fine stag was being very patient on Saturday, lying in the frail late afternoon sunshine surrounding by photographers. They crept towards him, crouched down in the bracken as if they were making an act of supplication. Maybe we haven't progressed so far since the days when cave men recreated the images of deer and bison on the walls of their caves.

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