Paths, walls, conundrums

20170123_140502In winter the garden stops growing.

This path leads down the hill from Carmen’s house.  On the left the hill goes up to rocks, on the right the valley flattens to fields and the path is a ledge bordering both, built with stones, lined with trees.

The trees in their time were purposeful.




Look at the work in the wall.  Blocks of stone do not come out of the mountains square-cut.  The hours of labour in making the walls ask for respect.  The wall on the left holds up the high field and faces it in so that path is a trench beneath it.  On the right the wall is built up.  Both walls have suffered.


The blue of the sky, the warmth of the day are no comfort.  It is winter when plants should stop growing but I saw a bumble bee chasing down nectar from a flower fooled by the spring-like sun.

The tree is falling over.  It is eaten by ivy.  There were many trees falling over the path, but I went in and cleared them out.

20170123_141059This is the point where the path was blocked.  I think the farmer blocked the path to keep his animals from escaping when the field gate was open.  All the hazelnut trees were fallen into the path.  I cleared them out with Laurence in three hours of sweaty work chopping back 200 metres of blockage.

20170123_141434 200 metres of blockage and then the path opens out.  Brambles and fallen branches, clematis, ivy and holly still make the going tough.  This is rural archaeology.  The trees were planted by knowing hands.  They are no longer cared for.  This generation does not deserve what it has inherited.

The land means money now.  Hazelnuts do not give money.  The small fields are left to grow over: what can they give?


The land is not my own to claim, but the paths are public.

I feel a special affection for paths as a wanderer.

I feel a special vocation to clear them out.

A path is not a path when you cannot move along it freely.
























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