Cromford

I write this whilst sitting on a bench surrounded by high summer wildness on a cloudy August day. The scent of rain is hinting I should leave but stoically I sit it out. There is too much of this view to take in and I want to absorb it all: perhaps the rain will help diffuse it.

I’m beside the Derwent as it starts through Cromford meadows. Any birdsong is drowned by the water scurrying to reach the Trent and the open sea. Deferring to the Scarthin outcrop, the river (itself a force often to be reckoned with) turns smartly left and biddingly runs alongside. Though it never rests, it lays a soft alluvium bed on top of the ancient limestone.

There are beech trees (both green and copper) in the park opposite, and alder by the water. Above me, sycamore, elder and lichen-strewn hawthorn. At my feet is wintergreen, holly, nettles, dock (easing nettle stings), hogweed, great willowherb, and a giant wooden caterpillar. Maybe the caterpillar stirs in the cool night breezes… maybe this explains the cropped grass around my bench.

In seeking inspiration for this Faith File I reflect that over the last year or so, (when we have had so much ‘down time’ in which to write) I have written nothing. Perhaps I needed to sit by the water.

Should you, dear reader, think this piece belongs in Nature Notes perhaps you are right. In my defence I suggest that the practice of immersion in one’s surroundings is a lesson in attentiveness to Creation. Walking in the remnants of Eden and giving thanks always restores the soul. It also reminds me, yet again, how precious and fragile it all is. We have our work cut out to nurture it for the future, and we dare not fail.

This article was originally written for the Derby Telegraph Faith Files column