A Walk in The Woods

 

 

It’s surprising what you notice, or miss, when walking in the woods. You may visit the same area every day, but no two days will ever be completely identical. Colours of the four seasons show different contours and contrasts, and things we may take for granted or otherwise ignore, make their presence felt. There is so much beauty to be seen, heard and appreciated, if you just open your mind, and your eyes.

I associate Spring with greens and yellows, Summer blues and pinks, Autumn golds, reds and browns and Winter varying degrees of white. This is a personal choice though, and no doubt you will have your own.

 

Spring sees everything new, with tender young shoots reaching up towards the sun. Last year’s leaves provide a natural mulch to promote growth, and every day sees change, from the density of new foliage and flora to the buds in the hedgerows and on the trees so stark through winter.

 

On a warm Summer’s day, watch out for adders which can give you a nasty nip as they bask in the sun after the cold of the winter months. Slowworms and sand lizards are harmless, but fascinating to watch if you’re lucky enough to see them, not to mention butterflies, woodland bees, dragonflies and brilliantly coloured damsel flies that go about their business around you. Beetles, grasshoppers, bugs, snails and slugs all have their place and purpose. Spiders spin their silken webs and every so often, you witness the magic of a lone feather or sycamore wing in mid-air, suspended invisibly by a single thread. Dew gathers on the delicate intricacies of their individual works of art as they wait patiently for their dinner to come calling. Sometimes, you may see deer, rabbits, perhaps a fox cub or badger, curiously foraging around in unchartered ground away from the den or sett. If you don’t see them, you will almost certainly see evidence of their existence, be it tracks, bark scratchings, dug out hollows or droppings.

 

Swallows visit in late April to October, their daring dives and changes of direction immediately overhead, a frantic ballet of precision. Pigeons flap in a frenzy of noise and other birds chatter above you. Tits, robins, blackbirds, thrushes, all have their own particular song, and it’s surprising how loud the call of a green woodpecker is when everywhere else is silent. Squirrels scurry up into the trees, and you may see a tree creeper pulling itself up the bark. Even crows hold their own fascination, lining up on telephone cables in their multitudes, or invisible in the trees until disturbed as you approach, their Caw being almost deafening. Evidence of their treetop roosts is apparent by the pebbledashed fronds on the woodland floor below.

 

Daytime walks differ from the night, though what’s present in the darker hours was there during the day. It is the noise of movement that can be unsettling as you cannot immediately place or identify the culprit. Bats may swoop over you head, but are unlikely to attack. Fir cones fall from trees for no apparent reason, are you being bombarded or is it just a change in temperature that causes the cone to retract and fall. Nature’s table shows evidence of squirrels gnawing on the cones, leaving the remains of their feast on tree stumps. The sphagnum moss underfoot cushions each step, and in the shady groves, mushrooms and toadstools the size of tea plates provide a splash of vivid colour amongst the greens and browns of the woodland. In your mind, you can envisage elves and pixies dancing around in these fairy circles, many lined up like tables in the finest restaurants.

During a hot spell, soil turns dusty and is shifted in the gentle breeze. The whole forest seems to be holding its breath in anticipation of its own secrets. What exactly we shall never be privvy to know. After rainfall, the air takes on a fresh smell, the leaves dotted with raindrops glistening like a thousand tiny diamond lights as the sun shines across them. Dirt tracks are now ripple patterned by water paths made as the rain trickled down the gentle slopes to pool in tiny gullies or fill streams to babble over rocks long silent in the heat of summer.

 

The autumn sees the golds, russets and browns of nature as trees shed their leaves leaving them naked to the elements. In winter, these same trees resemble glass sculptures as they shimmer with hoar frost. Well trodden paths now covered with snow, display the tiny tracks of creatures and animals always present, but seldom seen.

 

These are the occupants of the woods, and you, my friend, just a visitor.

 

About pensitivity101

I am a retired number cruncher with a vivid imagination and wacky sense of humour which extends to short stories and poetry. I love to cook and am a bit of a dog whisperer as I get on better with them than people sometimes! In November 2020, we lost our beloved Maggie who adopted us as a 7 week old pup in March 2005. We decided to have a photo put on canvas as we had for her predecessor Barney. We now have three pictures of our fur babies on the wall as we found a snapshot of Kizzy, my GSD when Hubby and I first met so had hers done too. On February 24th 2022 we were blessed to find Maya, a 13 week old GSD pup who has made her own place in our hearts. You can follow our training methods, photos and her growth in my blog posts. From 2014 to 2017 'Home' was a 41 foot narrow boat where we made strong friendships both on and off the water. We were close to nature enjoying swan and duck families for neighbours, and it was a fascinating chapter in our lives. We now reside in a small bungalow on the Lincolnshire coast where we have forged new friendships and interests.
This entry was posted in fiction and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.