Rose Segal is a poet, singer and songwriter who was raised running barefoot in a Cotswold garden, with animals brushing past legs, and wagging tails twanging against guitar strings. After recently gaining a distinction in an MSt in Creative Writing at the University of Oxford, she now lives in Oxfordshire near the ancient Rollright Stones, writing and performing locally and training her young horses. She writes with a musical ear, and is fascinated by the craft of capturing moments.

As a Story Terrace writer, Rose interviews customers and turns their life stories into books. Get to know her better: you can read an autobiographical story of her own below. Get in touch today to work with her!

Merriscourt Lake

When Merriscourt Lake froze, my father led us down through the cracktwig forest to the shore. My brother and I were all hats and gloves, pink cheeks and smiles despite our cold feet. Amidst clouds of breath and half-heard bird song, dad slung a branch across the frozen lake, and as it spun on the ice it made a shuddering, whistling sound that I’ve never heard since. The whole wood rang with it, making us gasp.

I’ve been along the path beside the lake many times since, on my old pony Flannigan. I never know which way to look – down through the tangle of trees to the water? Or left into the field that rises up to meet the horizon? If the sunlight is just right, it picks out the folds and rolls of the hill, too many to memorise, though I always try. Or ahead along the winding forest path, reciting Robert Frost to myself? Sometimes Flannigan would choose for me, stopping himself and gazing one way or another, for a few contented heartbeats and a sigh. My favourite way to look, though, is up. Up through the boughs to the dappling beech leaves, trusting my pony to follow the path, taking in the kaleidoscope of sun and leaf and sky.

Once I took my ‘new boyfriend’ and now-husband to the lake, with our old family dog Wolfy and a tennis ball that we kept losing. Another time I came back along that path on someone else’s horse, the wrong way and much faster than I intended. We survived! Now I look forward to taking my young horse Silvia along there for the first time. Her name comes from the Latin for “spirit of the wood” and it will feel so right to leave her hoofprints in the muddy path, and see the plumes of warmed winter air curl up from her nostrils amongst those same trees.

Whenever I ride or walk through the woods by Merriscourt Lake, I feel as though time is as frozen as the lake was that first winter. I feel that I might hear the ringing whistle of a branch across its surface, that I could turn a corner and see my child self there, down at the lake’s edge in that old marbled felt hat. Clasped in my dad’s warm strength, as I dare to place a foot out on the ice, holding his hands.

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