A creative conversation in the woods with artist Catherine Hyde, poet Jane Lovell and writer Rob Cowen | September 2022
The September light for our Heeding Nature event was breath-taking, and so very welcome, as the night beforehand the rain was so, so heavy, that I lay awake questioning if we had finally pushed our luck with the weather. Yes, we have had wet walks in the past but not with such a large group, we have even headed back along Middle Path to the sound of rumbling thunder. Did I need to seek an alternative venue?
Catherine certainly wouldn’t wish to draw in the rain and we would be unable to hear the readings, but then the weather is nature, the essence of why we were gathering, and very much the personality of outdoor experiences. I reasoned that we were also with a group of artists and guests who would relish being out in the open no matter the conditions.
When I awoke the light was honey gold, I need not have worried, and surprisingly we were able to sit comfortably in a dappled clearing.
All three writers and artists share a mutual passion, drawing their inspiration from nature, with each observing not only its splendour but its darker, fundamental side. Throughout history we have sought to understand the seasons, predict the weather, reassure ourselves with stories and folklore, that the swallows will return, orchards will fruit and the cycle continue.
When we look closely there is evidence within every landscape of our impact, no matter how wild or untouched you first perceive it to be. We arrogantly set ourselves apart, yet our interaction and management of wildlife has influenced how animals behave in changing habitats, on our own behaviour.
Rob read a stand out piece from Common Ground that relates to his brief, intense encounter with a fleeing deer, observing within the panicked eye its inherited fear and timeless flight from the hunt. As the conversation and readings flowed between Rob, Jane and Catherine, we listened, tuning in to the turn of the season, the layers of history entwined within our surroundings, while Catherine also drew - quick, instant, inky lines capturing the form of fox and stag.
Afterwards, we made our way from Oldberry Hill Fort, returning to Seven Fables where each signed copies of their respective titles, all who, within the pages of their books explore far more eloquently than I, the theme of our conversation, valuing the importance to heed nature.
Thank you to everyone who joined us and entered fully into the spirit of the afternoon - we felt quite blessed.
Signed books by Catherine Hyde, Jane Lovell and Rob Cowen are available to purchase from the Seven Fables’ website, delivery within the UK is £4.00 if you are unable to collect, and we do ship parcels overseas.
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Photographs Reuben Jelley
Words Davina Jelley
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