From a snug fisherman’s cottage in Mousehole, we explore southwest along the trail, curving our way through shrub fields of bracken and honeysuckle and Apiaceae species. Where the hard granite is exposed, sea thrift and Lotus and a beautiful purple blue flower I can’t identify, soften the hard crystals. On our first full day in Cornwall, the reality of this trail exceeds any expectation I had from my snooping last winter with Google Maps. By the time Marc and I return along the footpath through farmers’ fields (the footpath gated and stoned between dairy barns!), my leg muscles are comfortably sore and I feel the rhythm of this landscape beginning, ever so slightly, to imprint.
A conference brings me to England and then it is an extraordinary pleasure to spend days wandering the steep contours of Deer Park Farm in Devon. After the last several years showing and talking about field journal art, I am rediscovering the joys of playing (thinking less about product and more about process) in my field journal. The English countryside is hedge-rowed and exotic, at least to my North American sensibilities. Outside Ash Tree Cottage windows, Coal, Great, and Blue tits visit the feeders, along with clown-coloured Goldfinches (how unlike ours) and Eurasion Nuthatches. In travel, the familiar becomes exotic.