Every morning I go out early when the air is always fresh and the light clear. Today, I turn off the Manaton road into the wooded lane which leads to the river. It is dark under the trees and darker still where the lane goes steeply down. As I reach the valley bottom I hear the sound of the river. It feels so ancient here as though nothing has changed for a hundred years. The trees overhang the fields providing shade for animals and the farming is gentler somehow and less manicured. It is late summer and there is a smell of grass, leaves and earth, so distinctive and different from the scents of early summer and already I sense imminent autumn. The river is brown and peaty with patches of gold where the sun reaches through or brilliant lime green where it shines through the leaves. Fungi are starting to appear everywhere. A dry summer followed by a wet autumn is ideal growing conditions for fungi so with the recent rain it should be a good year.
I have decided to spend a period of time drawing. I have always preferred drawing to painting and have always loved working in monochrome. Quite why it conveys emotions or mood more strongly is a mystery. I feel happier today and I think deciding to take up my diary again has helped. You can feel quite flat after a long period of intense work and I have been totally focused on my book and my exhibition for over a year. Instead of looking inwards, by writing this diary I shall be looking outwards at things around me.
The sun is just tipping over the tops of the trees and on the far side of the river the dark woods are chequered with brilliant yellow but here it is quite shaded. Under a Holly tree in a tiny clearing I have found a rather wonderful toadstool. The cap is slightly eaten on one side and the stem is rather beautifully ridged. A small ray of sunlight has found it in the dark shade and illuminated it rather well. I think I might sit for a while and draw it.
Crossing over the old packhorse bridge the woods open out and there are small clearings filled with sunlight. I have seen less butterflies here recently because of the cold wet weather but the ground is covered with empty or half eaten Hazelnut shells, so the squirrels have been busy. It is a pity they are grey and not red. I am suddenly very aware of the river music and stop to listen. There are deep sort of rumbling notes of water moving against stones and mid tones of the flow, short lapping sounds and then the high swishing notes not unlike the sound of heavy rain. The music changes intensity as I walk along, sometimes it is loud and then quieter where the river just flows silently. Along the path I am always finding Dor beetles. I so often move them to one side so they don’t get trodden on, but inevitably some do. I have done a charcoal drawing of one I found today.
The sun is well up now and coming out of the woods into the field everything is ablaze with sunshine. I realise the morning is progressing rather quickly and I must get home.