All posts by Wandering Woody

A wandering word-hoard #1

Sometimes there is no word to describe what you feel, see or experience within the natural landscape, with all its infinite subtleties. Here are twelve examples of words I’ve created in an attempt to define such moments in nature.

brockenflee – to hasten one’s step to reach a point or destination quickly; a hurried badger-like gait

cryve – a crow-bomb or crow-dive

ghost-glow – spectral light reflecting over a dark or stormy sky

grinkle – a smile resulting from an exploration of texture, such as running your hands down the bark of a tree or admiring the imperfections on a burr

krocken – human-like features in the geographical landscape

rainglow – light shining through rain

rēnline – when rain falls hard, in long lines

sipweid – to savor (or sip) what you know or what you see

timber-tide – organic material left on a surface after the retreat of water

tree-fret – mist amongst trees

tree-swell –  the sound of wind blowing through trees, resembling the sound of the sea

vista-thwack – the feeling of awe when taking in a scenic view for the first time


My word-hoard was inspired and encouraged by Landmarks, a book written by Robert Macfarlane, ‘a meditation on words, landscape and the relationship between the two.’ 

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Words are grained into our landscapes, and landscapes are grained into our words.’

A pheonix tree

In a hidden corner of Bransdale in the North York Moors, there is a quite remarkable tree. A multi-stemmed, partially collapsed Small-leaved Lime (Tilia cordata).

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According to a biological survey carried out by the National Trust, it’s very unlikely to have been planted here and so, is of particular significance.

Why?

  • The species is found in places which have had a long ecological continuity such as ancient woods, old hedgebanks and on crags and cliffs.
  • It is mainly a southern species, a relict from warmer times.
  • It reaches the northern limit of its British range in Yorkshire and the Lake District, so this tree is one of the most northerly native specimens!
  • It is generally only capable of natural regeneration by vegetative means; it is therefore unable to colonise new sites.
  • However, the tree having now regenerated by layering (due to a recent collapse of the original tree) means a new generation of small-leaved lime have been created.

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#12

‘We had pierced the veneer of outside things. We had suffered, starved, and triumphed, grovelled down yet grasped at glory, grown bigger in the bigness of the whole. We had seen God in his splenders, heard the text that Nature renders. We had reached the naked soul of man.’

– Ernest Shackleton, South: The Endurance Expedition

Waxwings

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Yesterday, whilst out working with some of the rangers from the National Trust’s Souter Lighthouse and The Leas, we spotted a large flock (100+) of Waxwing. These incredibly cool looking winter visitors with distinctive Mohican tufts are a favourite of mine!

Large numbers can arrive in the UK when there is a shortage of food in their Scandinavian breeding grounds. So seemingly, this year and into the next, with the abundance of berries available there could be (hopefully) more encounters to come…