This page records our favorite quotes that have meaning in connection with Wordwood.
On our last visit (May 2016) we noticed some particularly pretty lichen. It made me think of one of the many funny passages from Bill Bryson’s book A Walk in the Woods. Here it is. Look at the Photo Gallery for more pictures …
When, after ages and ages, you finally reach the tell-tale world of truly high ground, where the chilled air smells of pine sap and the vegetation is gnarled and tough and wind-bent, and push through to the mountain’s open pinnacle, you are, alas, past caring. You sprawl face down on a sloping pavement of gneiss, pressed to the rock by the weight of your pack, and lie there for some minutes, reflecting in a distant, out-of-body way that you have never before looked this closely at lichen, not in fact looked this closely at anything in the natural world since you were four years old and had your first magnifying glass.
When we named Wordwood we envisaged putting quotes in unexpected places around the property. Here is our first in She Oak Grove…
At the moment Whiteroot is everywhere amongst the grasses and other herbs. It made me think of the passage from Aldo Leopold’s A Sand Country Almanac about Draba, and inspired me to re-read the book to find the passage. Here it is.
Within a few weeks now Draba, the smallest flower that blows, will sprinkle every sandy place with small blooms.
He who hopes for spring with an upturned eye never sees so small a thing as Draba. He who despairs of spring with downcast eye steps on it, unknowing. He who searches for spring with his knees in the mud finds it, in abundance.
Draba asks, and gets, but scant allowance of warmth and comfort; it subsists on the leavings of unwanted time and space. Botany books give it two or three lines, but never a plate or portrait. Sand too poor and sun too weak for bigger, better blooms are good enough for Draba. After all, it is no spring flower, but only a postscript to a hope.
Draba plucks no heartstrings. Its perfume, if there is any, is lost in the gusty winds. Its color is plain white. Its leaves wear a sensible woolly coat. Nothing eats it; it is too small. No poets sing of it. Some botanist once gave it a Latin name, and then forgot it. Altogether it is of no importance – just a small creature that does a small job quickly and well.
After the thrill of finding the antechinus mother and babies, I came across a poem and it struck me. Here are the first verses.
To A Mouse
– Robert Burns
Wee, sleeket, cowran, tim’rous beastie
O, what a panic’s in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty
Wi bickering brattle!
I wad be laith to rin an’ chase thee,
Wi’ murd’ring pattle.
I’m truly sorry man’s dominion
Has broken nature’s socal union,
An’ justifies that ill opinion
Which makes thee startle
At me, thy poor, earth-born companion
An’ fellow mortal!
Here is a poem Pete found …
The Peace of Wild Things
– Wendell Berry
When despair grows in me
and I wake in the middle of the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting for their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
Here is a William Shakespeare quote Pete found and that we are going to work into our gate …
I like this place and could willing waster my time in it.