• Flora McLachlan

The fleeting glimpse

I saw a small and beautiful valley from the window of the Corris-Aber bus - I had just time to register a stream, cushions of moss, a small vertical stitch of waterfall, wriggly oak trees and the snapped-off crown of an oak tree dangling upside-down, a strange ruin in the centre of the idyllic scene. I made a drawing to remind myself (top left).

I went back the next morning in the car - I wanted to draw it before the leaves came out fully.

I clambered along the brambly roadside threatened by vast tankers who were not expecting me. Feeling guilty and hot, I scuttled over the barrier and squeezed through a drooping fence. I was in it!

Of course it was completely different. My momentary flash of vision had compressed the valley and made it into a sort of glorious droplet. It was bigger, unruly, spread out in all directions, less green. I would have to start again and find a new way in. I concentrated on the dangling oak crown and the receding arch of distance beneath it, over the river. The water was loud in a deep rocky gorge and there was an old mill-race in the bottom of the valley - cold and echoing sounds chilled the atmosphere.

If I took the drawing further I think I would use my memory-sketch made on the bus. It caught my imagination - the location sketch doesn't. Maybe it was not necessary to return.

#drawing #onlocation #glimpse #sketch #dream #woods #forest #wales #valley #moss #idyll #mythicallandscape

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