Then spree

poetry & diary by Nia Davies

Tag: forest

All the tea in Turkey, Çamlıhemşin

Tea in Turkey

Where I knew it before: a weepy pale delicacy in dinky china, with cake and cotton napkins, milken in wide brimmed cups built for the poised circumference of two hands. Now my image of tea is overturned.

It darkens. And becomes the viridian stripes of knee-high hedges, terraces on steep slopes. Dark green leaves trimmed as privet is. Bunched in a sack on the back of a truck or stuffed into bags by women standing in the mid-day dim, caked in mud the colour of black tea.

Tea that tumbles vertical from cloud. Green air. A dark wooden box of a house high on the cliff to which supplies are delivered by winch.

Staring at the rapids of the river Fırtına (the ‘storm’ river) I get a dizzy magic-eye  effect when I move my gaze up the still pattern of the trees on the far bank. Banks outrageously lush with tall forest.

It’s dizzying too, to not be able to see the top of that hill. To only feel it above the mist. To feel that where the mist gives way are the alpine plateaus, the yaylaları, and then the peaks of the Kaçkar mountains themselves.

Fırtına

Moyy Pension, Çamlıhemşin

Ortan village

The far banks of the Fırtına, from Moy guesthouse, Çamlıhemşin

Humpback bridge over the river Fırtına

Ortan's houses

Elevit yayla

above Kavrun yayla

Cow in Elevit

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Finland from the air

Cycling on snow in Jyväskylä

March 30th, 2011

Pleated, becheckered and monochrome, it’s possible to see the managed pine and the white ground between trees, galvanised in the light. Palette lakes: smooth pulped and pressed flat. You can see the ripped, trimmed and scored woods, the growths left to bloom in rings like boreal fairy glens. Summer house are still submerged. From here it’s a stickle-backed land, seeming far more cottaged and tended than from the ground. You see the farm ponds and where black heated tarmac crosses the crispy white ski tracks.

The vanguard of sea ice hugs the far coast:  a barrage against liquid. The edges of the Baltic are still frozen – they hold a viscous edge that peels and retreats on warm days, crusts and extends on cold. In the  shallow seas around the coast snow furs over the islets that are hugged close and made part of the land only to be released into the sea again come spring. Some of the archipelagos are linked together by stringy bridges.

Over Turku the ice loosens.  There are beaches of snow in the bays, ringed islands that could almost be Greek with their white sands in bright blue. Over Sweden I watch the land start to brown, the lakes crack. There are long white scores cut out of the trees that stretch in very straight lines across miles of field, wood, frozen sea and island – presumably they are old imperial sledgeways?

Over Denmark the clouds come and I try to make out parts of the royal wedding magazine the Finnish woman next to me is reading: ‘Diana vs Kate’ – why are they so interested?

From the land of Finns to the land of Angles – we are both fished fine angles and filled lands, finished on an ask, an Ang, a Fin. The plane has taken me from winter back to spring. On the ground the foggy air smells warmly wet – long released from ice. The willows and thorns are leafing. I have gone from zero ice to liquid pools, the muds of the new year. We are quick to forget an English winter. But the Finnish winter I am fresh from will be harder to let go of. In the leech-grey wood one tree has come into green. As the train creeps into London the land warms another degree, and the sparse trees and track-side buddleia start to show it, begrudgingly.

My first guest blog on the New Welsh Review website

“Outside a West London pub, Serogo repeated my name. I’ve been asked about it many times before but I’ve never got this reaction: “Ah Wales – freedom fighters!”…”

I have been asked to write some guest posts on the New Welsh Review editor’s blog. So for the first one I took the opportunity to bang the drum for West Papua and the people resisting the brutal colonial oppression of the Indonesian government. Please visit http://newwelshreview.blogspot.com to find it.

Woodhall Loch, Dumfries and Galloway, August

Swimming amongst lily pads, the water a peaty black. My submerged limbs look orange. Rushes, reeds and trees crowd the edges of the water: alder, birch and oak.  The run-off from yesterday’s storm cradles me coldly, so that when I churn my legs and arms to generate inner heat I still sting with chill.

New Forest, Midsummer

Night in the oak and beech, camped amongst the leaf litter. Merry England plays at the ancient edge of forest and heath. That golden green, that quiet of quiets. Of crested birds and insects buried, bums poking out of purple foxgloves.

Through the crooked root and tangled coppice:  think warbling deciduous and tall firs. Cyclists power through unaware of deer and buzzard. That breezy Solstice air, that wakeful dapple of forest light. Surround-sound bird song.

Those shouts of children: the ones you heard as a child when you were put to bed whilst it was still light. You longingly fixated on the glowing curtains or canvas and heard shrieks. Wishing, wishing you could shriek outside too.

A charcoal-edged breeze in the thickening trees. Dusky light, it’s a barcode of green bark and white silver birch.

Penbryn, Llangranog. May

carreg y ty

I’m in Penbryn, Cardigan Bay and all the animals are at it: midges, ponies, birds that come in pairs, even the slugs. Swallows are back from their adventures. I came here once before, ‘tippled and toppled down the hill to the beach’ according to my mum. But it’s another discovery for me now.  It’s a new pocket where the rocks are black – heaped and shattered in waves and strata that curl up to make dark looming cliffs. Where squalls have hurled themselves in briny tempests and broken up the windy shore line.  And the forests are bright green and humming with the bees nosying in to  the wildflowers. Kestrels hover as if hung by string above their prey.  My caravan is parked in a grassy place ‘where you can lie on your back and look at the stars if you want to! No light pollution here.’  The cows are heavy with udder and calf and the hedgerows are singing. The birds even do jazz with drum wing-beats and trumpet-voices.

“Wales is a small coat made of deep pockets.” Horatio Clare