Friday, 7 August 2009

The mists between horses and hares


AND SO WE TRAVELLED OFF from Wales towards the Big Green Gathering, overnighting on this spot along the A466 - a picturesque stretch of road that runs down beside the Offa's Dyke path for a while. We don't often see our truck home from above, but there we could walk into the conifer forest above and look down on ourselves as the mists rolled in. We thought we'd outrun the rain as the sun tempted us back towards England. But it caught us up. And low clouds skidded over us dropping their downpours and rushing on. We even saw a cloud outside our back door, hovering over the river valley. A gruff man pulled up while we were parked here and asked if we were selling our truck. He told us he'd owned it once, but we didn't believe him.
And then we drove on, down winding roads that lost us a wing mirror at one point due to a wide-wandering Hymer.


All the way to Cheddar we drove and gathered with others ready for the festival. But it was not to be. A police injunction stopped the event from going ahead, and so over the next few days many sad people chugged away from the muddy field through the ceaseless rain and back to where they'd come from. We were due to be joining the permaculture area there, with our truck dwelling friends Hannah and Daniel. Eventually another field was rustled up for those who would have been our permaculture neighbours, to have a mini gathering on the edge of Dartmoor.

There we spent a week with other lovely people. We sat around fires and sold some pictures, we walked and we sat, we met hedgehogs and gypsies, we learned stove making, we watched films in yurts and chased children. Here we all are attempting to assemble a geodesic dome with the two truck houses in the background and a twin or two in the foreground.


There were moments of despair as we realised our coffers were nigh-on empty and the rain did nothing to cheer us. But people bought pictures and the sun came out.. and life went on.


And then we wandered on. Further north into Dartmoor we went, taking care to use the main roads. Then as we approached our hilltop destination we found ourselves in first gear on hair-raisingly narrow steep bends, but we made it. And now we are here, in what might possibly be our favourite place in England so far.


Parked on the top of a hill we can see for miles over the moors when the clouds clear. Such an amazing landscape I have not come across before. There are those most English of gnarly oak trees gripping the stony lane-sides, there are delightful villages, delightful people, and the views are just incredible. We've met the ponies on the hill, and I even lay down next to some afternoon-snoozing foals. Out of our round bedroom window we've watched the clouds skud across the full moon amid the most beautiful of skies and the quietest of airs.





And most delightful of all I seem to have walked into the land of mythic artists. How pleased I was to meet Terri Windling and her wonderful work in the flesh. In fact it is she we have to thank for field hunting for us. I feel just a little starry-eyed to have a writer and artist whose work I have long admired come to tea, and humble to have her admire my work in turn. I can see why these artists who dwell inside tales have chosen this corner of England for their homes. There is something 'other' about the land, but it is absolutely not describable in words. It is for me a little like the warm memory of a deeply enjoyed book. Meeting this land is like meeting a love. It is wild yet familiar, and I think I should paint in it.


Before all of these latest journeyings, my friend Poppy sent me a wonderful piece of stitchery that she spent weeks working on. It contains words from the Havamal and old blackwork patterns. I shall be framing it and hanging it in our sleeping quarters soon, I think it describes things for travellers well.


While we are here, in between visiting lovely people and exploring the moors, I am working away on the next album cover for Oxfordshire folk band Telling The Bees. Amongst many folkloric symbols woven into their music, which I am to illustrate, is a strange symbol, the so-called Tinner's Hares, a triple hare icon, where three hares share just three ears, yet appear to have two each. Oddly I have seen this symbol here where we are, on shop fronts and posters. It seems that there are more triple-hares in Dartmoor than anywhere else. It is an old symbol, which like the Green Man appers often on medieval church bosses and the like. But no-one knows quite what it means...

54 comments:

Anonymous said...

Swept away with admiration for your 'Telling The Bees' cover art...

Beautiful music as well.

Julien

Anonymous said...

As always, a glimpse of your journey takes me through a world of fable & mist, folklore & phantasmagoria. Most excellent, sir and madam.

I delight in the mist between horses & hares... Some gorgeous photos, those. The stuff of legendary lore that charms and captivates a soul like me.

By the way, I'd swear that picturesque stretch of thick, dense conifer forest is the land I was born. But I suppose it's unlikely... being half way round this tiny world of ours.

Julien

Snippety Giblets said...

Oh that looks gorgeous ! Such lovely countryside. Love the pics of you; you look completely at home, in your element !

Thanks for mentioning my sampler :0) I shall direct my mum-in-law over here to have a look as I forgot to take pics before I sent it.

Hope you have a peaceful and prosperous time in your lovely new parking place. We think and talk of you often.

L said...

Oh, how I wish I could travel to these places! I enjoy hearing your stories through your blog, thank you so much for sharing them. How amazing it must have been to meet and spend time with Terri Windling!

Dreamspirations Gallery said...

Oh how I would love to be able to see all those Magickal Landscapes in person :) Yes... Thank you for sharing the Stories of your Travels and all the Beautiful Pictures!
Many Blessings to you and yours,
Summer

Ciara said...

So delighted you are in such magical surroundings. It seems most appropriate. I can't wait to see what loveliness comes out of it.

What a shame the Green Gathering was not to be, though glad to hear you made your own. It looks as though your wee gathering was fun!

I am in love with that beautiful stitchery. What a wonderful present!

Heather said...

The weather certainly hasn't helped you lately and you have had plenty of ups and downs. At the moment you seem to be up - may that continue. Your photos are beautiful as always - I love the one of you lying with the ponies. We had them in our garden the evening we had moved in on the edge of Dartmoor. They were unshod of course so we didn't hear them until they were in! That is a lovely piece of stitching. I love the triple hare symbol - there are many myths about hares in various parts of the country.

Lisa Falzon said...

Oooh that picture with the ponies...

And oh my, Dartmoor! Beware of the Hound of the Baskervilles!! :D

Mokihana and Pete said...

Lovely words and pictures of your journeying...as always your wheelie adventures make my old heart race ...wondering whethr we will have the trust to simply be with the magical now that shows up on the way and there.

Shell said...

I wish I could be traveling with you.
The three hares I have never heard of, I went to look up about it. Very intriguing to me. Enjoy your walkabouts between the mists, I go with you in spirit.

ruthie said...

now that is a wonderful part o the country, happy childhood memories i have of there, camp fires and swimming, scratchy heather & those doe eyed ponies. how wonderful that you had terri windling for tea, i love her delicate work. the hare symbol is intriguing. happy days rima * ruthie*

Linda Byrd said...

I love this post. You made me long to visit there again. Thank you for sharing your journey with us.

Lunaea said...

What wonderful memories you are collecting. My heart fills with yearning whenever I read one of your beautiful posts.

alette siri ane said...

So glad to see you at a happy place and at awe that håvamål is beig used !

mama p said...

...and all i can think is, oh, just to be able to feel that luscious green grass under my toes...what a wonder of a place!

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Lovely to hear from you! Napping with the ponies. Bliss.

You have described perfectly how I feel about Scotland. I don't think I could ever write about Glencoe. How could I possibly descibe the "otherness".

I'm glad you are perched in such a special spot. Hope you get to stay there awhile!

Vicki's Bit-o-earth said...

Rima, As always, I rush to see the latest posting from the Hermitage... and also as always, I'm transported. This time to the land of my own ancestors... Wales. My grandmother's family is from that magical place. I only visited once, but wish for the day I can visit again. While there, I remember seeing a wooden sign of those hares... and I wondered what it meant. I will follow the search at Tinner's Hares.

My favorite image in this post has to be the cloud welcoming itself in through your door.

"Telling the Bees" is true wonderment, and thank you for introducing us to Terry Windling. What a tea that much have been.

Keep curiosity alive~ Vicki

Clay Perry said...

very beautiful, exceptionally peaceful...

Anonymous said...

I usually read this blog without commenting, but this time I have to pop up to say that it makes me smile to think of you having tea with Terri Windling -- as it is through her Endicott Studio and The Journal of Mythic Arts that I was first introduced to your work (and then through your site, introduced to Orla Wren).

Dartmoor sounds like a magical place. I love the Three Hare symbol, and the link to the Three Hares Project website.

It reminded me that there was a good article by Ms. Windling on the symbolism of rabbits and hares in a back issue of the Journal of Mythic Arts, so I went and found the link:
http://www.endicott-studio.com/rdrm/rrRabbits.html

Happy Travels!

-- Jon
in faraway Alaska

nina said...

oh, rima - the photos are absolutely magical, particularly the one of you lying in a meadow with ponies, and standing as a silhouette against the valley and sky. paint those, paint those, paint those! you have drifted into a magical land, dear one, and have become a part of the surroundings. you have arrived. xo

tut-tut said...

Lovely lovely. I'll be back around to contemplate some more.

giftsofthejourney said...

I wish you'd come down to Bodmin Moor where I am..Dartmoor is lovely and magical, but Cornwall might soon replace Dartmoor as your favorite place in England.

Mo'a said...

What a wonderful journey you are on.
The photo of you lying down with the little foals brings back memories of my childhood in Iceland...when I would lie down next to my horse.
I have Hávamál cards that I draw most every day...they are in Icelandic :) there is much wisdom there. The wall hanging that you friend gave you is a lovely treasure.

Melanie said...

Beautiful stitchery from an ancient text.

I read that the triple hare with 3 ears between them was a symbol of new life and used by the early Christian church to represent the trinity. I did one in felt with borders to represent the elements in 2008 on my old blog Jellybeanangel.

Good luck with the album cover.

herhimnbryn said...

It IS a magical place. I miss it.
Thankyou for this post. I shall think of you today laying with foals in the sunshine.

Carl V. said...

I've long admired Terri Windling. How wonderful of you to get to meet her. I'm so glad that you not only got to meet her but that she had a hand in finding a location of you.

Absolutely lovely image of you laying down with the ponies. It seems both relaxing and thrilling to me.

Griffin said...

Love the image of you standing silhouetted against the landscape and clouds... reminds me of a certain Victorian painting!

If you lay down with foals... who knows you may be a horse in your next life!

You and Terri Windling... what images and tales you might both produce together! Go on, tell each other stories! You know you want to!

laoi gaul~williams said...

amazing post as always~i look forward to them so much.
the trouble is i always get the most terrible case of wanderlust and want to pack up our van straight away and take off to explore our wonderful country :)

Eric Orchard said...

Amazing beautiful pictures!

Velma said...

it seems as though you have found a home for your wheeled home. are you a horse girl? the photo of you and the foals is very, very special.

Lauren said...

rima, are those original paintings you are selling from the festival?? i want, i want! pls post on etsy. you look a little wild like the ponies, beautiful. your blog i adore...

Amanda said...

I once met a kind soul in Cheddar who rescued me from the train station at which I was stranded. I still think of her 11 years later.

Why the police injunction?

As always, lovely words, lovely images....

Linda said...

I found you from Danielles Blog, your path rekindled some forgotten wanderlust, of long forgotten Romany love to take to the road.
It probably wont happen for me, but its pleasant for me to live a bit through your trundlings.
Really enjoyed your artworks and Photographs.
May the Weather be kind, and your Hearts always Happy. Lindax

Marsha said...

I am in aww! What a lovely blog! Thanks for sharing. I could spend hours here.

miakodo said...

That picture taken of you on the ledge overlooking the valley is absolutely haunting. I'm glad you're not the only one behind the camera these days, and we get to see more of you--even if it's just your back. :)

Clint Marsh said...

That's Froud and Lee territory you're in, too! Here are some photographs I took during my jaunt across southern England, with Dartmoor early on in the proceedings: http://www.wonderella.org/reading_room/online_exclusives/england2004/index.htm

Take good care,
Clint

BT said...

Suh beautiful photos, especially the horses. I love to hear the tales of your travels and adventures, who you meet and what you do when you meet them. It's a magical world Rima.

Ape on the Moon said...

Really nice blog, art and stories - keep this up - rarely do I see such effort put into a blog

Sarah said...

How lovely to sleep with foals! Dartmoor is beautiful and I was interested in the symbol with the hares-I have not seen that before-I will look for it now!

Katrine K said...

Oh, how thrilling to read about your journey and see all the lovely photos, love all about it, and your amazing art too!

Stormy said...

Hi Rima and Tui :0)

I often read your enchanting blog which warms my heart, with the way you write in such a captivating way. And I also tell others of your blog through my own writings and blogs, so I hope that is cool with you :)

Anyway, don't forget us at the Tribal Living Forum, pop by and say hi when you rest up for a while :0)

Love and light
Xxxx Stormy xxxX

Julie Bouésso said...

The pix of the foals & you soothed my soul this morning. Thanks for sharing it! Off to check on the links you posted! Be sure you'll breeze in some air, peace & lots of nature for all of us so far away, living tucked away in between everything & nothing, trying to stay grounded by holding on to the little Mother Nature surrounding us! Cheers, Julie

samantha said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Donna @ A Painted Journey said...

Well, I just don't have the words to describe how I feel after seeing this post. You have taken me to a land I didn't know existed, yet always dreamed of. Stunning photography... You are truly living a remarkable life... All my best to you... Donna

kit said...

you blog is a magical space and i love stepping into it. I checked the link on the three hares symbol and find it fascinating! The universality of this and many other symbols is so reassuring somehow!

mademoiselle G said...

Thank you for sharing your stories on your blog. Everytime I come here I read them with very much pleasure. And how great are your photos! England seems such a beautiful country...I must go there one day (dreamed about it since I'm a little girl!)

Have a nice week!

joana soares said...

You allways have a wonderful story to tell about the magical places where you stay. I hope (and I know) you will paint absolutly amazing things in that place.

From distant Portugal...
a hug , joana

custardfairy said...

The Wood Wife is one of my most favorite books in the whole world, and Terri is a magical writer.

Thank you for more words and pictures.

Cronopia said...

love your blog, your pics, your home, your work and your stile for living.great!
greetings !!

Roger Simó said...

I can't describe how your work touches the deep of my essence. And congratulations for the animated story The Fish and The Doll: It's just gorgeous...
After visiting your blog my soul is smiling...

Emily said...

Tendrils of envy! I really can't help it! :) following your journey... I wish you the best of good fortunes for the winding paths ahead!
Cheers!

Carol Wiebe said...

I can see you and Terri Windling as a perfect match~that you were able to meet and share the wonders of your imaginations must have been delightful for both of you.

I followed Endicott Studios for quite some time, and was sorry when JoMA ended, but they generously left over 10 years of issues online. And, her blog is marvelous: I see she described The Hermitage as "full of the gorgeous, whimsical, soulful, and thoroughly magical art of Rima Staines."

High praise, but absolutely earned.

Liz.Photo said...

Thank you for the beautiful tour. We are enjoying your photographs, stories and atmosphere.

nubic said...

Thank you, very good blog. Now I am a regular reader of his