We’ve had a fair amount of rain in Cumbria this winter. But then, this isn’t called the Lakes for no reason. From experience, the thing about Cumbrian rain is that generally, it falls and then it goes. If it floods, the floods then drain fairly quickly into those lakes. The lakes and rivers may stay higher than usual for a while, but the idea (which I have, honestly, read several times over the past couple of months!) of the area being unwalkable, difficult to reach or just plain awash, is just silly.
This week’s other online silliness has come from the poor lass who decided to review Skiddaw on Trip Advisor, slating it as inaccessible, with no toilet facilities and no easy way to the summit. Bless! (there’s really no other word). Living here, walking here and working here, one of the main reasons for my loving this area is it’s wildness, the fact that it isn’t full of paths and roads and signs telling you where you can and can’t put your feet. But also, the weather. It’s unpredictable, occasionally a little wet but often not, and it means that the landscape constantly changes. The light after a storm, the mist on a cold morning, the darkness of the rain clouds.
And then there’s snow. This week, it’s been cold and we’ve had snow. Perfect snow for once, the sort that isn’t particularly disruptive or particularly deep and is perfect for snowmen and pretty winter scenes. I’m not a fan of the cold weather that accompanies it, but the snow itself, for that one day when it has newly fallen and turned all the world white, I love. I love the monochrome-ness of the landscape, the way the snow throws trees into shaded relief against the sky, the branches looking like larger versions of frost patterns. The icicles, the tracks and trails of animals and vehicles in the forest, the patterns in the frozen tarns. Sunrises this week have been glorious, pink/white mountains that turn gold as the sun rises further, icy lakes and misty fields all grey and white.
It all serves as a reminder that often, less is more. Throwing lots of techniques, lots of colour, lots of ideas at one piece isn’t always the best thing to do. Paring it back, taking out the unnecessary can be much more effective. For me, this is a very useful reminder. I think I need a mini-snow window installed in a corner of my studio.