Passing Time in Northam

The little tree I fancied was at the corner of a sedate and slightly superior housing estate (what I call Bungalow Land), where it meets the A386 road to Appledore.  I saw it yesterday, and lusted after its red leaves falling on to the intensely green grass below. It looked gorgeous with the sunlight filtering through the red. I remembered it from last year. I wanted to draw attention to the tree and to the endless cycles and movement of nature.

So I set off for the tree, and along the way I came to this yellow ‘weed’, flowering at the edge of the pavement, pushing its way inexorably up through the ground, and up through the human surface veneer. It shone in the bright sun, and I had to admire it, and take a few photos.


The tree looked good. Leaves hung almost lifeless from its branches, some still green, some red.  From time to time, a little breeze blew flurries of red leaves down into the grass. Occasionally there was a stronger gust, which sent older, dried up ones bowling and rattling along the tarmac road.


I felt a little bit embarrassed as I stooped to gather up fallen leaves in full view of the houses all around (but not enough to stop me doing what I wanted)!  As the embarrassment wore off, I dropped into my familiar pattern of mindless repetition… bending and gathering, bending and gathering. When I say mindless, I don’t exactly mean mindless – I mean ‘not thinking’. I was, in fact, highly alert.


People passed and smiled, and I was delighted to be able to show a small child the bag of red leaves I had collected.

I didn’t know what to do with them when I had finished. I thought of making a massive circle of red on the grass all around the tree – but I have done this sort of thing many times before, and there was no good photo angle.  So I kicked the remaining leaves around a bit, cleared the man-made square bed around the tree – and photographed this. All the photos I have taken this morning are, I think, what a 2-D person would call ‘rough sketches’. (That is: not the finished work).


As for the two bags of leaves I collected – I have taken them home until I have decided what to do, and I will work with them again the day after tomorrow. Alex (husband) was thrilled with them, and especially with the earwig-like beetle that crawled out and ran very fast all around the sitting room carpet. I have put some of the leaves in the fridge to see what happens. Hoping they won’t end up in the salad…


I wrote this a couple of weeks ago, actually – but unfortunately, since then, circumstances have temporarily prevented me from any further messing about with leaves – or the internet…  Thought it was still worth posting this little interlude though!

About throughstones

I am primarily a visual artist, living on the North Devon coast, a beautiful semi-rural area in South West England. I am interested in full engagement with 'place' and the eternal movement of life - particularly as it relates to what we call 'the natural environment'.
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4 Responses to Passing Time in Northam

  1. Have been in a similar situation where if I look like I know what I’m doing…people will generally ignore me! Like your photos as is…even sketches seem to carry the spirit more than a more polished example might?


  2. roos says:

    lovely post of rough sketches in a fridge something will come out of it


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