The Scar by Kevin Murphy


The Scar

Sitting in our autumn holiday cottage, I said to my grandson, ‘Look at the light on that hillside, Isaac. It’s strange and misty, but there is no mist.’

It was a tiny window in the converted seventeenth century barn. We were warm and cosy, but outside, days of rain drenched the countryside but not our spirits. The sun had come up at the other side of the escarpment, but slight haze caused the light to skim across the very heavy dew – the grass was grey.

Suddenly all changed. Had a cloud moved away? The hillside was a gleaming emerald in a golden frame of storm tossed leaves.

‘Look at that tree, Grandpops, it’s got two trunks.

We leant into the frame for a better look. The row of trees running to the horizon did look as if it was tipped with the mature skeleton of a doubled-trunked oak, fully exposed, all its leaves already stripped.

It was a good observation by the lad. It had me bemused for a minute. ‘Ah, I see now. That’s a pair of trees, Isaac, standing beside each other, but from here they are almost in line, one behind the other.’

Later, after embalming ourselves with a swim in the heated pool, we took a walk out along Brackendale Lane towards Carsington in the hope of catching the early sunset over that great expanse of water. The lane is supposed to follow Brackendale Brook, but today we couldn’t tell which was which. Isaac had the wellies on so could ford the many streams the lane passed through – so he did.

Towards the top end of the lane, the land on both sides levelled out in a plateau. I reflected how that skinny brook was today doing what it had patiently been doing for perhaps millions of years – scratching the deep scar out of the plateau, carrying silt down towards the river Dove and onwards to the oceans.

The scar it has left, like a beauty spot, is what has attracted Isaac and all my family to gaze upon – this weather changing face of Derbyshire.

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