We’ve recently come back from a very tranquil holiday in Exmoor, at Selworthy Green. Thatched cottages stand around the Green, while a little lane winds alongside towards the church. It has views out over a valley to the moors, but itself is sheltered in beautiful, steep woodlands. The cottages were built for pensioners, who were responsible for maintaining the woodland paths. The tiny cottage where we stayed was home to the maid who took care of them.
Our first full day was bright and clear, and we spent all of it outside walking from our quiet base in the Green. As the sun was beginning to go down, we sat at its highest point, and watched the light change over the hills. My notebook came out, and I wrote this first:
Green is the colour of a stillness,
the kind of stillness
that is round and full
with a whole bellyful of life
like those apples over there,
clustered in shining handfuls
on the branch,
and the yellow green of the ash behind,
and behind that the olive of the holm oak,
and above and beyond that
the black green of the tall pines.
Breathe its sweetness,
as easy to a fragile body
as an oxygen mask
but with all this, all this, too.
You can’t take a breath,
without such gratitude
to the trees.