Office Move

After two years of searching for a house, and eight months of delays, at last the Sun Rising office has moved into Tysoe.  We’re now just two minutes from the burial ground.

You’ll notice the new telephone number is now up on the website.  Of course, it will take us a while to get new leaflets printed, and change the signs at the site, but don’t worry, all correspondence and our old telephone number will be redirected to the new one for at least the coming 12 months.

Let us know if you have any queries!

Spring Rain Clouds

Spring Rain

Oh how we needed rain … and now we have it!  With the few days of warmth and the ground now soaked with rain, the trees at Sun Rising are drawing in the water with a shimmering delight.  All last summer many of our saplings barely grew an inch or more, yet in the past few weeks, every moment of warm sunshine has inspired them to push out their new leaves and grow!

Much more rain and we’ll be holding our breath though.  Here’s a beautifully dramatic photo taken by my colleague at the burial ground, Bruce Chatterton, on his phone.

Spring Rain Clouds

Spring Rain Clouds

With Sun Rising Hill rising so sharply behind the site, it isn’t unusual to have such wild cloud formations, but it’s often hard to capture them.  On the day this was taken (yesterday : Sunday 6 May), we had a break from the rain, in fact.  Today it has returned, leaving the fields once again vibrant and lush with green growth, the air sparkling with life.

Daffodils

Spring’s Yellows

Spring’s colour is yellow, and at Sun Rising the winter’s snowdrops have now all given way to the beautiful rich blooms of the daffodils.  The first cowslips are coming through in the meadow and some early primroses, together with the first dandelions.  With the pale green of tender new leaves, the first being the hawthorn in the hedgerows and the cherry trees on graves, there is such an uplifting sense of new light, a new cycle, new life.

Daffodils

Daffodils

The warmth of this week is, of course, a delight in many ways, but we desperately need rain.  When it comes, the earth will soak it up with such a thirst.

Misty Roundhouse

Winter’s Touch

Another absolutely windless day at the burial ground again today, with the softest cold mist.  The temperature was below freezing, and patches of snow still lie on the grass and the paths after the snowfalls and flurries earlier in the week.  There is something very holding, somehow magically tender, about Sun Rising when it is like this.  The photo here gives an inkling of the feeling.

Misty Roundhouse

Misty Roundhouse

More snow is due to fall over the coming days, which will again no doubt blanket the burial ground in soft silence.  If only it weren’t so cold …

Sunset over Sun Rising

Skies

With Sun Rising Hill behind us, and the beauty of rural Warwickshire spreading out before us, the skies above the burial ground are seldom without interest.  The ridge of the hill lifts and changes the winds, influencing the clouds whether they are sweeping towards it or coming off the high Cotwolds towards the plains.  For me, these wide open skies, with such beautiful patterns and colours of cloud, are one of the really special elements of the site, inspiring the soul, lifting me when I’m low.

This photo was taken on my mobile phone, so the quality is not brilliant, but it gives an inkling of what the sunset was expressing a few days ago.  I hope by posting it here, it offers a little of that inspiration to others.

Sunset over Sun Rising

Sunset over Sun Rising

At this time of year, I feel sure that winter sunsets are the most beautiful of the year, but in six months I shall be equally sure that the summer’s sunsets are the best!

Feeder Full of Sparrows

More Sparrows

It was a delight to spend time with a few of the OWLS over the weekend, volunteers from the Oxhill environmental group : http://www.oxhill-owls.org.uk. We’ve had some terribly cold days, and the day we met was one such day – a wild easterly wind biting our faces but not dimming our shared enthusiasm for the flora and fauna of this beautiful part of central England.

As well as the first snowdrops bravely flowering in the cold wind, the busy chirruping of the tree sparrows on the feeders was wonderfully cheering too.  It was great for our OWLS visitors to see the abundance of tree sparrows at the burial ground.  Here is a shot that has been typical for almost a year.

Feeder Full of Sparrows

Feeder Full of Sparrows

It is our hope that next year the population of great tits and greenfinches will recover.  The numbers are significantly down on from previous years.  With our bird feeder volunteers filling up our industrial sized feeders twice a week, we are doing all we can to give them a fighting chance.

Tree Sparrow

Making a Corridor

Freelance environmental consltant Tim Marlow has been dropping by the burial ground over the last few months, considering the connections between the environmental programme at Upton Estate at the top of Sun Rising hill and the Biodiversity Action Plan folk at Oxhill (OWLS): the burial ground creates part of a corridor between the two.

Tim has taken some beautiful photographs, including this sparrow. We’ve had more tree sparrows at the site this past year than ever before. Just exquisite.

Tree Sparrow

Tree Sparrow at Sun Rising

Mist over Sun Rising Hill

After the Snow

The snow has pretty much all gone now at Sun Rising and we have a few days ahead of wet ground and muddy grass.  The mists are beautiful …

Mist over Sun Rising Hill

Mist over Sun Rising Hill

Thaw

Slowly we are seeing some thaw now at Sun Rising.  The lane is still slushy but there are areas of tarmac showing through, and a few cars have now been in and out of the car park.

With a couple of funerals this week, we shall be clearing more of the car park, hoping for some warmer weather to help the thaw, but care does still need to be taken – both with not getting cars stuck in the snow, and on foot on the snowy and icy ground.

Looking up the main track to the Roundhouse

Snow

Isn’t it extraordinary the effect snow has on us? It evokes an emptying sensation, silencing both inner and outer worlds.  It can make us feel exquisitely free, released and awake; it can fill us with a sense of lonely, barren unease.  While it falls, changing our world, there may be excitement or tension, and then we wait, now unused to it staying long as it seldom does.  We watch, expecting our grey-green muddy England to push through the white, re-asserting its familiar self, with its soft colours and musky winter scents.  When it doesn’t we grumble, releasing the new tensions and fears, and blame this and that, still waiting.  It seems we have to go through those first days of inactive bewilderment.

Yet if the temperatures are so low, if more snow comes, we adapt.  We set to, as if old memories kick in – albeit slowly – allowing us to work out how to get on with life again, in the snow.  It is at such moments that I feel grateful for the walls of my little house, the fire that glows in the iron stove, the hot water in the taps, and I remember the generation before me, who faced the snow with very few comforts at all.

That loneliness still dogs me though, and the cold brings a deep ache to my bones.  And my heart goes out to those who feel it too. It can be so beautiful, so quickly transforming the landscapes of home, but snow is not easy.  It can leave us feeling isolated.  And at this time I feel especially for those who were so hoping to get to Sun Rising over the next few days, to visit loved ones, to pay their respects.  I urge anyone who is uncertain about whether or not to travel to call us first.  We are at the burial ground as often as we are able and, for those who may find it comforting, are always there to say a few words in your stead.

This photograph was taken (on a mobile phone) yesterday, giving an idea of what the burial ground looks like at the moment.

Looking up the main track to the Roundhouse

Looking up the main track to the Roundhouse