Threats of spring are becoming a reality in Vermont. Despite the cold spell and a few nights of close-to-freezing temperatures, the apple orchards are fat with buds and the woodland floor is greening up. Trout lilies, bloodroot, violet and hepatica in bud poking out of leaf litter and decay, the ground sunlit, tree canopy shade still several weeks away. Maple sugar houses shuttered, and overgrown forsythia in sunny-yellow bloom at the edge of roads and pastures. Yesterday, the sun warm enough to dig weeds in the herb garden and savor afternoon tea on the porch, a brilliant clear blue sky overhead.
Last week, after sorting out the car rental snafu (note to self – next time rent from Manchester UK, not Manchester NH), and after taking many wrong turns, several unplanned detours, (another note to self – check that the GPS has the UK map installed), and adjusting to driving on the left side of the road (and getting beeped at more than once) – we finally arrived at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Fortified by a delicious hot lunch from the café, bundled in rain-gear and wearing our winter boots, we headed out for an afternoon hike through the park.
The YSP is set on the grounds of a crumbling, historic estate, honoring the traditional built and natural environment, with ephemeral and permanent sculptures. New and historic buildings house 5 galleries and over 60 works on 500 acres of parkland in the gentle, undulating hills of Yorkshire in England. An interweaving network of paths meander through sheep pasture, farm fields and forests, over stone bridges, along a lake, a river and a restored wetland area. Responses to sheep folds, haha’s, forests, deer shelters, grottoes, tree roots and hay-bales, created in bronze, stone, metal, wood and concrete by local and international artists. Moore and Hepworth well represented on their home turf. Interventions in the landscape, a treat for the senses, art revitalizing and re-purposing the space. The opportunity to view sculpture and nature from afar and close-up. A delight to experience art in the open air, with lots of space between sculptures to linger. Art in nature, a focus on a feature in the landscape, a chance to pause, look and experience.
By the end of the afternoon, the overcast skies and intermittent drizzle had turned to a steady rain. With lots still to see, wet and cold, out of time and energy, we rushed back to the café. Warmed by hot tea and coffee, we hit the road again, the gray day fading into evening, a cozy room on the horizon.