I am walking out of the semi-industrial, crossing a border from a space of fences, cracked concrete, buddleia and stored vehicles. The landscape is laid out like a bookshop’s nature table, trees flat black against flat steel-grey sky, the perfect arches of the viaduct framing a series of winter woodcuts. The abandoned viaduct parallels the new
cherry pickers waiting –
In February, it’s easy to see. The hedges and trees are bare, we aren’t yet distracted by new growth, and the mass of wild garlic and bluebells that will drown us soon in fresh scent and colour. We’re back to the bare bones of the valley. The train isn’t carrying holidaymakers from Liskeard to Looe. It’s barely carrying anyone. In winter, it doesn’t really function like that.
misty mizzly warm damp morning muddy walking blackbird
in the sunken lane. Barely one car wide and with a central spine of grass, it disappears downhill towards an owl’s eye vanishing point. Unflailed hedges and bare branches meet overhead, and below eye-level, miniature forests of ancient species – pennywort, mare’s tails, mosses and ferns – flourish between slides of freshly-exposed earth. The scrapings and diggings of rabbit, badger, mole and shrew form thresholds and exits and well-trodden paths, black tunnels and overhangs that will collapse, sooner or later, in the rain.
Beyond the canal, a brown scramble of leafless bramble. Russet bracken. Collapsing. Sheds. Corrugated. Roofing. Moss and rust. Piles of branches ready for logging. Upturned feed buckets –
the track curves
warning sloping platform
fluorescent . capitalised
a fuzzy sway of catkins
Walking away from town into the valley. An awayness.
Sinking into green and damp.