10 March 2012

This patch of  moss is growing in a giant chain which is turning to rust at Maury Island Marine Park.

A Tale for Middle-Aged Women

One is tempted to call Lolly Willowes a fairy tale, but that implies romance, which it has none. Ursula K. LeGuin mentions Sylvia Townsend Warner in her essays, and quotes her at the beginning of the lovely story"The Poacher." It took a while, but I have fallen into Lolly Willowes -- a perfect book to discover in one's fiftieth winter. Here's a favorite passage:
All day the wind has risen, and late in the evening it called out to her. She went up to the top of Cubbey Ridge, past the ruined windmill that clattered with its torn sails. When she had come to the top of the Ridge she stopped, with difficulty holding herself upright. She felt the wind swoop down close to the earth. The moon was out hunting overhead, her pack of black and white hounds ranged over invisible quarry. The wind routed through the woods. Laura from the hill-top heard the different voices. The spent gusts left the beech-hangers throbbing like sea caverns through which the wave had passed; the fir plantation seemed to chant some never-ending rune.

(135-36 in the Cassandra Editions edition of 1979).

Apparently this part of Buckinghamshire in the Chilterns is now quite suburban -- the wildness that Laura encounters in the novel has perhaps been dispersed. Was there ever a village truly called Great Mop?