A Walk Through Yorkshire – Photo Series – 'Emergence' (#1)

in art •  10 months ago


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“I was at once drawn here from a long and deep sleep and yearning
To the land that time forgot
Many were the slipknots of time that had passed to form this long treasured place
We arrived at it's foothills filled with excitement
Born of it's remoteness
My head dizzied at the prospect before me
Negotiating with anticipation it's steep ascent
Made our way up it's steep and winding path
Climbed it's fabled heights to fathom with some satisfaction
It's sheer magnetic delights
For it seemed our plateau had reached the very skies
Skies into which we witnessed iron birds leaping like Lemmings from this heavenly outcrop
And on seeing the land spread out far down below
Fell back into it's mute forest deep
Feeling alive from a silent heartbeat palpable
We entered the crystal dark wood criss-crossing muddied crevasses
Fern fettled channels spreading carpets in the soft half glow
Another world of untamed carpentry
A treowwyrhta's dream

And in good time and measure
By the light of a winter's day
Eventually drawn out by some common thread
Countless other lonely feet had paved the well trod way
My companions now lost
Consumed by the forest behind and ahead of me
Like navigating a digestive tract
I turned a downward bend
And all of a sudden it dawned on me
The fibre of my being digested
I would be spat out like a host of bones renewed
Finely cleaned of all worldly woes and care
Out of the darkness a paradise emerged
And like as a spell on this lighted sight I dwelled
I pondered …

Perhaps from the great cosmic well
The first thought of paradise here was so sweetly dreamed and drawn
For it's richness is hard to compare
Comprised of hill and valley
And yonder the wealth of force and tarn
River and beck
Meadow and track
And secreted far below like some great calcified sack
Great vaulted caverns belching the fast and furious flushing din
And in patient time The Buttertubs bubbling
Through millennia and worn down stone of lime
Where glaciers stole the monoliths of Caledonia
Depositing them to adorn these greedy godly lands
And in their progress
Etched their weighty pitted mark to carve a stony path
Art from heaven sent
Well watered dales stretching out far and wide
Under blue and vapour filled skies
Formed fit for future farm and barn
And a hardy breed of men babbling in their yarm
And in their amidst acres lain perfect and green with grasses tightly sewn
Rich pickings for the gold flocked fleece
Who in their blissful grazing
Fed the hungry masses far and wide
For monkish men who from such spoils fomented widespread riches

Making peace with the land was the flock's wild business ever widely grown
Churning and chewing the ground into softness to yield it's fertile wealth
A land speckled with homesteads strewn hither and thither
Among the green fields and moorland's purple heather home
Soft folk and sheep set in their sedentary ways
Bearing up under alternating clement and inclement skies
They bred them hardier here
The stuff of wealth and legends that rose white and gleaming and pure
Hewn from the sedimentary rock of ages lost to the crush of time's crack and taking
Of seaborne creatures cast
Where in stillness we still sing the highest praises of past works present
Yet still we yearn to sup at the heaven sent liquor streaming here
Ay .. for therein amongst these hills
Many a rich yarn's been warped and threaded
I feel it's constant tug
For here a great inheritance and destiny too are wedded

This the greatest county rich in diversity so well met from trials of adversity
From the melting heat of earth's fiery belly
To great tectonic pressures that forced together many and manifold
Time's push and pull ... the extremes of great forces
Encrusted bed of ancient tropical shrimp and Hake
For beyond the the uncut trees it is plain to see
That with His mighty hand did He forge a high and mighty paradise
To rise out of that ancient north bound sea
Yet before the brittleness of age
Whilst yet in the slippery suppleness of youth
All manner of rock and crust did he bend
To form a paradise unmatched and without sight of end
That when once in that primal Eden
Where lion and mammoth
And all gigantian beasts would turn to fossil tooled
That men may marvel at it's melling
On seeing such a force of God and Nature well conspired
It is the perfect dwelling

For all it's fret and fighting
For in Time's slow cook and unwinding
For generations and of the ripening sweetness of abundant ages to come
That ye may gaup and gauk that such a thing is possible
This Yorkshire .. this gnarled resplendent kingdom
Well conceived and delivered by it's maker
Long fought for in the battle of it's making
To us a paradise is won”

This is the first photograph of a series I will post taken on walks I have made throughout my home county of Yorkshire, northern England, or God's own country' as we say up here owing to it's incredible diverse beauty.

I often go walking with friends on a weekend. We like to go places we haven't been before. It's an adventure. Usually topped at the end of the walk with a delightful pub as olde worlde as possible, meaning traditional with beamed ceiling, open fire, good beer and home cooked food. Well that's the ideal, which is becoming rarer these days when landlords tend to feel they need to renovate with a fresh look, which usually destroys the character of a place. However, such pubs are still to be found, and it all comes together in my home county of Yorkshire, the largest county in England. For here on my doorstep I am privileged to enjoy the most diverse geology which gives rise to the most diverse and wondrous landscapes, both hard and soft, pitted and rolling hills and sheep filled fields and dales, valleys and lakes, woodland and forest, rocky promontories, coves, many rivers and streams or creeks as our friends across 'the pond' call them, the tallest and fiercest waterfalls and some of the most spectacular views in these islands.

We tend to follow walks that the local newspaper write about, and they are always well selected and mapped out with great directions. Now I might have over 30 years experience as a professional photographer behind me but thus far we have only ever used our mobile phone cameras to record interesting aspects and scenery along our way. Taking an SLR along would for me be a bit of a busman's holiday. And I love being unencumbered on a walk, so we love using our mobiles in this way. Of course mobiles aren't great in zoom mode but for wide angle and close up photography they are brilliant and such a joy to use, especially as we can also easily compare and share and enhance our images to best and varied effect. The use of a mobile phone camera is also a very good way to improve one's photography very quickly as you see the results instantly and therefore learn so much the quicker.

This photograph shows the point of emergence from a lovely forest on high ground or moorland, part of the North York Moors which is part of the National Forest. Is is also close to the Sutton Bank Gliding Club. It was a winter's walk which had it's moments negotiating the deep pockets of frozen rain water in fields and forest alike. Par for the course for the several the mountain bikers we came across.

At this point we emerged from the woods onto what might be seen as a landscape of desolation after a swathe of trees had been cleared and planted with new saplings. Then looking beyond and into the distance, the rolling valley below which spreads out into North Yorkshire. And probably like most photographers I would have ordinarily avoided including in my camera frame the plastic protective tree guards that surrounded the host of newly planted saplings that replaced the felled trees, but somehow this photograph works despite man's mark in the landscape. In fact it works partly because of it. The silhouetted trees in the foreground framing the almost ephemeral emptiness beyond, including my friend who had momentarily paused to check her mobile phone. The fact I had just missed capturing the passing mountain biker probably helps emphasise a sense of isolation here.

I think naming it 'Emergence' is apt as we emerged from the relative darkness of the forest into the light and an impressive view across miles of open countryside. But also for the fact that the newly planted saplings are a sign of emergence of new life too. I am particularly pleased with the subtle colours I introduced into the image, a two-tone effect which helps to give it an extraordinary quality, and the dark foreground and silhouettes emphasises and enhances what little colour there is in the subtle warm and contrasting cool tones, focussing the attention all the more. Dare I say it even has a poignancy about it for some reason, perhaps due to the desolation of the mid ground combined with the starkness of the leaf stripped trees, the silhouettes and the lonely isolated human figure. But chiefly it elevates my spirit, and this is the main thing I look for in any work of art. It kind of transports me. To where? I'm not sure. But because this is a kind of raised island of land that dominates the surrounding area which is located near a prehistoric settlement, I personally call this whole area .. the land that time forgot. Remember that film? Now that was a film that caught my imagination! So I'm very happy with this image for several reasons.

I love this picture so much I enlarged it possibly beyond the fringes of it's tolerance so that it's best seen from a distance, but the effect for me is good, mounting it into a wide black frame with a rather Victorian look about it. It hangs beautifully above my fireplace, as you can also see, helping to give space and even a vista beyond the cosy room ...


All images and text copyright Paul Heaney © 2018

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