Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Skylarks at Minions

I can drive to Minions in my dreams.

You go through Rilla Mill and Upton Cross
and on upwards to the edge of the moor
where the wind is clean,
blowing hard from cold seas and empty moorland.

Leaving the car, you follow sheep tracks and small paths,
clambering over randomly strewn granite chunks.

Here is the great quarry face at the edge of the hill
and beyond, to the furthest horizon,
the landscape of Cornwall.

From a distance the stone tiers seem precarious
but it is a misleading impression,
at close quarters their permanence is unmistakable.

I have walked these paths all my life:
as a child,
with my children
and now without my children.

At the top of the hill,
where the view is unchanging,
I felt that it could be any or none of those times.

On the way back we lay in the tussocky grass
and, turning our faces to the sky,
let the molten sound of the skylarks pour over us.

In all the times that I have been to Minions
I have never stopped to listen to the skylarks.

There are always new things to discover.
I know that now.


  1. Those rocks are astonishing.It's difficult not to be soothed by skylarks. Along with nightingales they seem to have the ability to sound like water.

  2. how generous, to give us the large photos, Alice. What a beautiful post about time past and time present. Thank you.

  3. Is it creepy to say you are my idol, Alice?

  4. I feel much the same about the Yorkshire Dales - I only need to see photos or footage of Upper Wharfedale to be transported back to my childhood, my teens, my young adulthood and visits with my husband and my own children - I've not been back for a while, maybe I should go again soon - not with my old familiar comfort blanket attitude but with an open mind and try to discover new things about old familiar places. Lovely photos Alice, thanks for starting this train of thought for me

  5. There is something about groups of large rocks. I visited some that featured in my own childhood just last week.

  6. Those trees do it for me...............

  7. Beautiful Alice. Now I feel I've been there too.

  8. Ditto Gina!
    Thank you Alice, so I know what to expect if ONE DAY I should be so lucky to visit in person.

  9. How lovely to have the time to lay down and listen. I bet it was bliss.

  10. AnonymousMay 18, 2010

    The path remains the same, no matter the changes in our lives.

    A beautiful metaphor. It makes my heart happy.

    Thank you.

  11. Dear Alice,
    This post makes me very happy...for you insights (that help me who is also letting go of children right now)...but especially for the sight of the "tussocky" hills and the sky and the larks. A year ago, I was in England. What I miss most about it is all that you wrote about. When I climbed Binsey, in Cumbria, I wondered the whole time I was walking and climbing and reclining if what I was hearing from the little birds all around me was, indeed, larksong?

    Thank you again, from Lesley in the US, who is suffering from a dreadful lack of both tussocky grass and skylarks!

  12. The wind and time have been shaping those rocks and more recently bending the trees to it's force and direction - without it's influence the scenery would be less interesting. Thanks for th photos I think I can almost hear the birds, even from this great distance.

    Rilla Mill and Upton Cross - those are lovely names.
    ( I have recently been trying to find out about a place called Milton - Under- Wychwood. The name alone fascinates me. Has you or anyone been there?)

  13. Your words and pictures capture it so beautifully. Those trees! K x

  14. The trees and the rocks, amazing! I bet it is 'Brisk' as my father would say :-)

  15. How blessed you were to have grown up in this special place.

  16. Alice...this is...i've not the words to describe how this has moved me. i just needed to leave my mark here. i hope, one day, to return to your island and take time in Bodmin and lie on my back in the tussocks and listen to skylarks...in this life or my next.


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