October 29, 2011

i think i'm a viking

My hubby, he loves mountains. I love them too for their majesty, the challenge of climbing them and, of course, the views from the top.Infact, have been known on many occasions to whoop and sing and get a bit skippy by the view-drunkeness at the top of a big mumma mountain on a clear day. But honest-to-goodness the landscapes that I feel I belong in, that my heart and soul seem to dissolve into? They are the flatter, eastern lowlands, the wide open stretches of fertile farmland, wetlands and coast that make up east anglia. The northeast too, with its mahoosive stretches of beach and empty castles, screeching seabirds and whip-fast tides, they all carry echoes that my eyes and ears seem to recognize and tune into. I think I would feel the same in parts of Holland and Belgium, goodness knows I am certainly in love with their architecture and design vibe as well, and Norway? Right at home there. Which all makes me wonder if there is a good slosh of Viking blood in my genes, despite being only quite tall, quite blonde and not at all fierce and fearless? It is that love of the sea, of flat, watery landscapes and huge skies that seem to place me eastwards, looking out in the direction of Stavanger and wondering what it is about all this unremarkable, often uncelebrated flatness that I love, because it can be a bit bleak and cheerless sometimes.

This afternoon, on a walk, just me and the dog, I realised what it is. It is the overwhelming sense of peace that I feel scanning  light-filled flat, coastal or watery landscapes, the spectacular sight of huge flocks of starlings dipping and diving across an empty sky as if joined in some ancient flight-dance held together by some invisible thread, the refraction of light, the far-away horizons. I love the wind screeching in my ears and ruffling my hair and bringing colour to my face, but most of all I love the light. Huge, uninterrupted expanses of sky, that is what I love the most. I'll show you what I mean.

Come with me along the river that flows through our garden, to its source in the nature reserve. I always pause here to look across the reedbeds and let the hound have a paddle.

Along the river footpaths, dusky now as the light is fading slowly.

and suddenly through a kissing gate, into the open fields. And this is it, what I love so much, the wind, the birds screeching, the open expanses of land and sky. (These pics were taken on my iphone so only a shadow of what I actually saw.)

Clouds like an abstract masterpiece,

beautiful canvases that make me feel in touch with something primeval, eternal, unchanging...

and I just stood there, alone in the field, and let the spectacular happen all around me, as the sun started setting I felt caught in the middle of all this light and colour,

I was literally soaked in this amazing light, as were the fields, you can see my shadow waving at you!

I wanted to get home before dark, so I took one more long draught of the view and headed home, full circle via that view of the reedbeds, now gold-streaked, 

and finally, the barn, our home.

All that, for free, a billion times over, all around the world, in a bajillion different galaxies....it is good to let it wash over you sometimes. 

And when winter sets in, and the colour seems to drain out of the landscape, I am going to try to remember to take a quick walk on a clear day just as the sun just starts setting and soak in all those spine-tingling colours once in a while!


  1. I keep going back and forth and and then back to continue reading...these shots are breathtaking..I do love nature and just the way you describe it i can practically feel the cool air and how it make your nose run...and all of this was taken with an iphone? Pretty amazing! I would end with enjoy, but clearly you do!!


  2. Stunning skies. I too love large skies, and am fortunate enough to live in Suffolk where we have loads of them. I think it's because I was brought up on the North Norfolk coast, with its vast expanses of windswept beaches and esturies. Or maybe I've got a bit of Viking in me too?

  3. Belinda I so agree with you. It is that feeling of being surrounded by light and the expanse of the sky enveloping you.. hard to explain what I mean but I think you felt it on your walk. Such lovely images too.
    Thanks for your comment on my Paris pics - did not see (unfortunately) a gendarme on roller blades would have been such fun! And yes, the weather was so beautiful we were lucky - Paris in the Autumn sunshine and also agree the Marais region is wonderul. S x

  4. Those clouds do look like art...painted by Mother Nature herself.
    What a lovely walk that you took us on today. I particularly like the image of the path curving around making one want to keep going to see what lies beyond.

  5. I am with you all the way - big skies, flat landscapes to see for miles - North Norfolk is my idea of heaven.

  6. I've often thought about landscapes and genetics. What really determines our perfect place? Is it how our eyes perceive shape and light as pleasure?
    I remember when I was 19 I was in Ben Lomand in the Santa Cruz mountains and my friend wanted to climb a small mountain, so I went along in the deep shade and dripping ferns, up to the rocky promontory. It was chilly and stark and very beautiful. Back near the cabin, the afternoon sun lay full on an adjacent meadow. I walked into it, lay down on the dry warm ground and knew I wasn't a forest person. I was a meadow person.
    I love this post. thank you, Belinda.

  7. I'm a little overwhelmed surrounded by houses surrounded by roads and highways and buildings as I am.

    But I'm also impressed by the light and the space and those photos only you can take with your phone!

    xo jane

  8. Magnificent post - hmm, so much to think about one's sense of place and belonging to somewhere. I belong here right where I am but I belong to the sea too.....
    Lovely lovely cloud shots on your i-phone, I felt I could glide in amongst them.....

    Sarah x

  9. Stunning. Now you've got me thinking about which is my bestest kind of place to be... and if I too am a viking! Ax

  10. Wow! What endless, gorgeous skies. You are so lucky to have all that Preserve space so close by to enjoy. What lovely photos to share with us. thanks.

  11. Awesome sky! Brilliant photographs.
    I suspect I have a lot of the Viking in me too. But woodlands and meadows and mountains 'do it' for me as well. Maybe my ancestors were nomads ;D

  12. Hello, I found you through Vintage Squirrel and just loved this post. Wonderful skyscapes: the feathery clouds are amazing. I need hills to feel at home - I am definitely a highland person - but your descriptions remind me of how much beauty there is in the flat lands which, to me, seem quite alien.

    Funnily enough I feel a bit Viking too, but my ancestors would have been not Danes from the flatlands but Norwegians from the fjords and mountains, who settled in the Hebrides in the early middle ages. Once, at primary school, we were 'doing' Vikings and the teacher made me and another girl stand up to show the class what Vikings looked like. We were both blonde, blue-eyed, tall...and both Macdonalds, who are partly descended from Vikings!

  13. Oh yes, yes - I see exactly what you mean. And I could do with a dose of big sky.

  14. Stunning photos! Thank you for sharing!
    God's palette is indeed wondrous!

  15. beautiful...all of them. thanks for sharing.

  16. I've found about your blog at Laura's Happy Homemaker UK Post of the Month Club. Your description of East Anglia's flatland is so poetic that I wish I were there right now. A substitute will be to follow your blog.

  17. While I enjoy London, to me, there is nothing like the English countryside. I have yet to see Anglia, but definitely on the list!

    Thank you for joining Post Of The Month Club - you could be our first viking :) XOLaura

  18. I am the same - give me Suffolk over Scotland every time. I, too, am probably of Viking stock. And talking of Vikings, have you seen - the new series of The Killing starts in November. Yay!! Jan x

  19. annie, thank you, good for the trusty iphone!

    Su, maybe you are a fellow viking! My ma is from north norfolk, and I spent all my holidays up there, in Binham, do you know it?

    Serendipity, merci!

    S.E. ahh, Paris, no skating police then?!

    Hostess, huge skies, nothing beats them!

    Elaine, funny you should say that, I spent loads of my chilhood in north norfolk, my mum is from there, maybe that has influenced me...

    Lucille, humungeous!

    Shelley, so glad you get it, I totally know what you are saying! It is all about the landscape you resonate with isn't it, none better than the other, just one's natural habitat!

    Jane, thank you! Do you have a landscape that you melt into, that helps you breathe deeper? Bet you do!:)

    SJ, interesting point, maybe there can be multiple primary landscapes, just as our blood is a mixture of genetics?

    A, fellow Viking?

    Webb, I am so lucky to live here. x

    Annie, like SJ was saying, and I agree, I think there can be multiple "home" landscapes for each one of us?

    Dancing Beastie, a big welcome to Wild Acre. How wonderful to know your ancestry for sure! Does it make you want to visit the fjords?

    Ali, where ever you are, look up on a clear sunset day! Does the soul so much good doesn't it?

    Noelle, indeed! welcome to my blog if you are visiting for the first time? x

    FPMomma, absolute pleasure! Welcome to Wild Acre

    Pet, thank you so much, you are so welcome here! x

    Laura, ha, hope I am!! If you are ever this way, the kettle is on!! The north norfolk coast is a fabulous place for a getaway, my parents rent an Elizabethan cottage if you are ever in need?!

    Jan, yep you are Viking I can tell! xx

  20. Breathtakingly beautiful photographs! Popping in from Laura's post of the month club.

  21. Cor! The sky pics are very soul-stirring. Love them.

  22. Beautiful photos, especially the skies and those clouds like feathers. One of the perks of the flat lands!

  23. Thank you for taking us all on this walk with you, it's been worth every step. I love cloud gazing and the ones you photographed are just beautiful and then the sunset, it's nature at its best.

  24. Oh those images are absolutely exquisite Belinda. Thankyou so much for posting them. Goodness, those sunsets! Love the image of your shadow there. Waving back.

  25. Congatulations on those sky photographs - they are fabulous, and I keep coming back to look again! Have you come across The Cloud Appreciation Society? www.cloudappreciationsociety.org
    I think you will like it!

  26. Hopping over from Silverpebble and Making Winter. Such beauty all around you, and for free. I grew up in Southern California with easy access to mountains and the ocean and loved both. But now I live in rural Wisconsin and revel in its wide-open skies and sense of spaciousness. As I looked at your pictures of the river walk, I could sense the deeper beauty behind the images. A photograph can capture only a little of the true feel of a place - the smells, the wind, the colours, the birdsong - but I guess it's the best we can do.

    Thanks for sharing your beautiful corner of the world with us.

  27. I know exactly what you mean by the sense of peace you get from a landscape so much bigger than oneself. I could really do with standing in all that vastness right now.

    Btw, thank you Jan for that bit of info on The Killing. I've been eagerly waiting for series two since I watched the rerun of series one in the summer.