Each morning I walk my dogs up our very quiet lane. There is little traffic and few machines. Just sounds of the countryside, birds most of all and the occasional sheep.
Turning back towards home I face the Black Mountains. They rise about a mile in the distance and as the half-light yields to the day the skyline reveals the Darrens, a fascinating mixture of rocks, indents and a commanding outcrop. To the north lies the inimitable silhouette of Black Hill, made so famous by Bruce Chatwin.
The light never repeats itself so the view is never the same. In the early morning the excitement of light and shade in all its subtleties is mixed with the drama of substance. The light plays with the surface exposing things I've never noticed, shapes I've never seen.
Nearer home the fields rise up from the Monnow valley and the hedge lines and pasture shapes curve and curl, constantly inspiring me. But it's under my feet where the least obvious and yet most provoking and challenging shapes and textures catch my attention.
Water runs silently over the tarmac after rain, causing rippling over mud, stick or leaf. Shapes growing and changing as I watch.
Occasionally the farmers drop hay or straw and the strands organise themselves into unique and wonderful patterns. And tractors sometimes leak, creating swirling patterns of petrol lustre as the fuel or oil drops.
But amazing shapes can emerge from the marks left by birds, etched distinctly on the black tarmac. And flying low above the road the Sparrow Hawk sketches the most extraordinary kinetic outlines.
Each morning is a privilege. And later I get to work, moving those shapes, tones and textures into the permanence of bronze.