Snowy walk and Hardy poem

It’s been a mild winter here in Scotland so far but his week, a covering of snow arrived. I went for a walk, starting at Oswald Dean (Photo 1), known locally as Oasie Dean. Traditionally, local families went there on Easter Sunday for a picnic – walking the 2 miles (3.2K) from Dunbar. Where I parked, there is a fingerpost (Photo 2), but this is a recent addition. Old metal fingerposts can still be seen around East Lothian and many still give directions and distances in fractions of a mile. I walked up towards Doon Hill. This walk changes with the seasons. At present, the track and fields are covered in snow (Photo 3) and the snow was dazzling in the winter sunshine, which cast shadows of trees on the snow (Photo 4). A brisk walk and I was well rugged up – a phrase used in Australia but not here, meaning wrapped up in a warm coat.

One of the poems on my poetry calendar was Thomas Hardy’s Afterwards – one of my favourite Hardy poems. Some might say that this is Hardy at his most nostalgic and doleful e.g. “…when my bell of quittance is heard in the gloom”. However, I see it as more upbeat, with Hardy wanting people to remember him – “He was a man who used to notice such things”. These ‘things’ include spring leaves “Delicate-filmed as new-spun silk” and a hedgehog which “travels furtively over the lawn”. I won’t have an epitaph when “my bell of quittance is heard in the gloom” (OK – not very cheery) but if I had, I would paraphrase Hardy and have “He was a man who used to notice things”.

Oswald Dean

Oswald Dean

Fingerpost

Fingerpost

Snowy track and fields

Snowy track and fields

Shadows on the snow

Shadows on the snow

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