Finding The Plot (at last)
Monday, January 2nd, 2012
Joe Joseph is a shepherd, who has just been granted grazing rights for his flock of Wiltshire Horn sheep on Glastonbury Tor. On the eve of Winter Solstice we were sharing supper with Joe and our friends in his shepherd’s hut and the conversation got round the distinctive characteristics of the Somerset landscape and the spirit of place. Joe mentioned he had just finished Madeleine Bunting’s book on search for her father through the a small plot of the Yorkshire landscape he devoted much of his life to and offered to lend it to me.
A post Christmas cold meant that I took time out and found it hard to put the book down once I had started. Her extraordinary journey through the history, ecology and farming of the gritty Yorkshire landscape is woven with a heartfelt journey of coming to terms with her father’s genius as a sculptor and learning to love him just as he was. It made me look afresh at the watery landscape of the Somerset Levels that I have been living on for the last thirty years.
The nature writer Garry Snyder once said, sometimes the most radical thing you can do is stay home.