from BARDO

The stars are in our belly; the Milky Way our umbilicus.

Is it a consolation that the stuff of which we’re made

is star-stuff too?

– That wherever you go you can never fully disappear –

dispersal only: carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen.

Tree, rain, coal, glow-worm, horse, gnat, rock.

Roselle Angwin

Friday, 11 December 2015

woods in winter

You may have noticed my blog posts are a little thin on the ground, as the leaves are against the sky. Three reasons: one, it's hard work doing anything much with my left hand alone, and I'm using my newly-liberated right arm as much as I can already. 

More significantly, I'm very immersed in writing the new book which is mostly about here, the stories of the land, and being here ('here' still being Huelgoat in Brittany). And I'm also planning my next year's programme of courses and retreats (the two websites are nearly though not quite updated: here and here).

Also we ('we' being my daughter and myself) have been gallivanting: Breton music and dance events, excursions with friends, lectures and exhibitions in a wonderful venue I'll write more of anon.

TM has earned himself a big brownie point for wanting to come to fetch me back to Devon for Christmas (I still can't drive and the campervan is heavy on the steering), so my time here is coming to an end.

Look what clambered over the threshold into the (dirty – using the excuse of a useless arm) porch the other night, late:

I love salamanders. I remember how they used to appear en masse in the Pyrenees on woodland paths after the lightning flash-storms that occur in summer. They're supposed to be both born from fire and able to survive fire – a motif I use in my first novel, Imago, partially set in the Languedoc.

It's a joy as always to walk in the woods: almost trance-inducing, and as always some of my best creative ideas emerge here.

Each season has its own quality, of course, and in this subtle season (so far) with its mild weather, and after the leaf-fall, the architecture allows the differing limb-shapes of beech, birch, oak and chestnut to show themselves, and the rocks to rise up into our consciousness, as it were; reclining at the sides of paths like great hibernating animals from another age:

So many paths.

Below is a poor photo of the large and intricate 'Grotte d'Artus', Arthur's Cave. 

Looking for the stories behind the stories in this forest, I'm excited to be uncovering deeper layers of 'truth' in the many myths and legends (more on this in the book I'm writing).

And this little pool with its perfect combination of water, tree and rock is as beautiful in winter as any other time.

It will be hard to leave.


  1. So many recent good blogs, Roselle, and now I feel able to respond (part of the daily procrastination of TWR, I'm afraid).
    Lovely photos which reach out to tempt me inside and yet I'm aware that woodland doesn't always suit me, despite loving trees and unable to live without them. After a while I crave the open spaces and capricious winds of ridges and moorland, though best of all is a mixture of all of these things in one long walk.
    Glad to hear the arm's mended. So easy to slip and, unlike you, I do hold on to all available hand-rails and put up with feeling like an aged crone!
    Have a lovely Solstice/Christmas back in your Devon home and will be in touch sometime before Dec end.
    Miriam x

  2. Tha'rt a true northern lass, Miriam. Might it tempt you more if I tell you that just south of here are the uplands of the Monts d'Arrée, rather like Dartmoor: open high ridges, tors even? (I like 'capricious winds'.) And we have the high Landes du Cragou just to the north, too. Yes, one can combine on the wonderful Grandes Randonnées that the French do so well. And these woods are open, friendly and mysterious, not dark and sinister!

    Good to hear from you. With love, Rx

  3. PS Miriam I think reading others' work of any sort is a necessary kind of procrastination when embarked on a writing project! It's incubating and inner-feeding time... x

  4. Thanks so much for that encouragement, Roselle. You're absolutely right of course and reading does feed my thoughts, helps them to soar and give something. That said . . . . well, the tide's turned its back, just a little, at the moment. M x


Blog Archive