Woodland creep

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A wonderful sunny afternoon and the woods were calling. Our nature reserve is a little like any small town; the most popular central part is the best looked after, with easy paths and carefully managed trees. The seasons are shown at their best and the beech grove soars to the blue Heavens, a silver temple with a fine carpet of copper and rugs of moss.

rther, and it becomes a little unkempt..the trees straggle lazily and the paths are more tussocky. It has a bohemiam, ramshackle air, so enchanting that you almost don't notice you are entering the industrial zone...

Now there is sign of Human Activity. Regimented pine trees planted close, huddling together to create a dark, dank atmosphere. Here and there are scattered newly hewn carasses, logs piled in chillingly neat rows. The stench of pine sap hangs low beneath the boughs.

I pass the old shep
herd's hut.

It has been n
ailed shut for many a year and I always creep past it, not wishing to disturb...whatever is inside. I fancy that if I went too close, the door would burst open and there, nailed to the rotting walls would be...

I hurry
on to t
he outskirts, to the forgotten lands, where elder and hawthorn have grown ancient and untamed. Thick fingered ivy creepers smother entire trees, and where trees fall, they remain, growing mossy and fungus laden. There is a scritchy scratchy frailty to these old shrubs, brittle branches jostling and snapping. Yet Spring will see them lift their hearts to the sun and cover themselves with gauzy veils of greenery again.

From distant fields I hear the baying of hounds and the eerie wail of the hunt horn. Somewhere - despite the recent restrictions on hunting with dogs - a fox is being pursued. The primival sound of the hunt draws nearer and fearfully, like a hunted creature myself, I head back into the heart of the woods, away from shadows and death. Back to where the silver birchs stretch languidly to the sky, trailing slender fingers through the blue. In the undergrowth lie many casualties - the tall beauties who have been felled by the recent blustery winds; Autumn has been too rough with his toys. Already fungus are establishing miniature cities on the living and the dead. I pass the Fairy Pool, a still, fuggy mirror which may have something lurking beneath its still surface.

The short afternoon is dwindling into sunset. Now it is time for
home and tea. I have wandered through the woodland for over two hours, and not met a single soul.


Anonymous said...

Beautifully written! You are truly an artist and I look forward to reading more!

A much less accomplished writer,

tlchang said...

Wow! What descriptions, both visually and evocatively! Do you ever write stuff to go with your illustrations? You so could!

Gretel said...

Thank you both! I've been writing my own stories forever, but no-one seems to want them. Such is life. ;)

Also, I am suffering from a weird writer's block - I am fine when I'm blogging, and writing about my walks, but as soon as I try to write down anything story-ish, I find my sentences/words go all clumsy and I can't get the flow and enjoyment that my blog posts give me.

Will have to deal with this soon.

Francesca said...

This was so beautiful, the images, your words -- how it all fit together. It transported me from urban America to your corner of the world and left me aching for those wooded spots you passed.

As always, coming to your blog is like a little visit to your world, a welcome, restorative one. Thanks -

Anonymous said...

HELLO pg I love the description ofyour walk especially the trees hang lazily, but I thought it was all very good
love Esther.xxx :)

The fabric of my life said...

Mmmmmm, sheer poetry. A lovely piece of writing, good for the soul and a brief respite from my busy, rush-around life. Great photos too :-)

Gretel said...

Thank you Est :) and Donna...writing about it was (almost) as much fun as doing it!