Grass that has grown to the height of my ears, rattles as I push through. The air is heavy this afternoon. Thunder growls away to the west, is answered by the boom of the foghorn on the Isle of May. Meadow browns, small tortoiseshell, corn buntings, grasshopper. I meet three wee boys on bikes. The youngest, the bravest says to me – ‘This is called sticky willy’, holding out a piece of goosegrass to show me. I say’ I know’. He says-‘ How do you know that?’ I say, ‘I called it that when I was your age.’ He smiles and says ‘It makes me so happy.’
Oil on panel – 52 x21 cm
A hurdy gurdy drone of wind sets scarlet poppies into a flutter. Green blue barley swells, rolls, swaggers across the field.
Ink drawing of a dead crow. I find it on the road, just beside the track that dives down into the field. Its heart is lying exposed, staining the tarmac, feathers flat from cars. The vulnerability of the life startles me when I had not expected it. Perhaps it is the heart that bothers me.
Oil on panel 25 x 20 cm.
Monday morning. Early. A thick mist. Wet, grey, still. Across the field on the other side of the burn a small hill sits, oddly, in this landscape. It lies behind the recycling centre and judging by the sight of plastic and bits of metal emerging I am guessing it must have been the old rubbish tip before it was covered in a layer of topsoil and left for nature to try and recycle. I climbed it the other week. It does have a strange atmosphere, it is land, but not land. Everywhere, nettles, bindweed and giant hogweed. Blooming now, their stalks are taller than me, some almost seven feet tall, topped with a mop head of creamy white flowers – I am in Lilliput amongst cow parsley. The sense here is edgy, non- conformist, unlike the docile field below. This piece of land has its own laws. Yet, the trees are taking hold, pushing their roots through the layers of human crap and, bit by bit this new land declares its own agency.
I am sitting on the railway sleeper bridge at the confluence of the two burns in the corner of the field. Above me , goldfinches in a hawthorn tree. A heron camouflaged in the grey of the sky sweeps past as if rowing down a river. Birdsong and the burn. Swifts flit in between the beech trees, and the seed heads of grass nod heavily with raindrops. Time to draw.