Sunday, 21 February 2010

Co-ordinates of a Metaphysical Map

The forest was looking majestic again despite the complete absence of leaves still, although some buds were visible. The snow on distant hills of Dartmoor looked like spilt paint on the land canvas, dripping downward toward the grey-blues of the hills without snow.
It struck me as I looked out at the ridge over the constantly transforming scape that part of why the forest is so special is because of its peculiar position. It looks one way to Dartmoor, and the high tors with their rocky stacks, and all the treasures both hidden and evident. Yet to the south it looks to the estuary and to the Sea, to another ceaselessly shimmeringly changeable placeless place - Exmouth beach and cliffs, the sensational coastal path running before, through and beyond them. And yet above on the hill, stands the Belvedere. From many parts of Exeter lying in the dale below, that tower itself is visible. And so in some way, more than geographical or topographical, the Forest lies at the heart of the landscape, connecting these powerful places that pull so many toward them in a way that seems almost spiritual in a Kandinsky-like sense. As if it was the centre of a soul compass where the arrow or gnomon has its turning point, where it can point in any of the key directions. Or am I waxing too lyrical? Yet whether swinging on the hammock looking up at the sky, or hypnotized by the views or lost in some storybook of a wooded path, the Forest exerts its power.

Even when rehearsing for a performance or going through a workshop plan, the Forest startles you. Today it was the green sky that lay between the wine fields, the dark mint woods, the watery blue hills and the navy-grey clouds. The turquoise horizon so un-blue that it was instead the lime green one sees in paintings...


  1. What a total coincidence to come across your blog today - I was looking at the same view yesterday (Sunday 21) - was it snow or cloud we wondered looking initially from ridges above Ottery St Mary... and by end of afternoon were on the tidal margin of the west of the estuary near Dawlish (footpath across railway), and thence to Haldon Hill(s) and the views you describe. Best moments were the fresh air at sea level, and the sunken hulk...must return to to your blog to look at reason I got an alert: poetry and Devon.-Tony in Devon

  2. Thanks for your words! It is an amazing place. Sounds like a really good walk you went on.