Happy New Year! Going forward, life is all about nature and creativity. I’m spending my time writing, walking, drumming, reading, meditating and exploring new places. Here’s a recent venture into the woods…
I set out for a walk with family, in the grounds of Packwood House, Warwickshire. Restless and eager to rinse off the festive season, we slip between others enjoying the reviving cool of the parkland expanse. Mist is still rising off the fields on arrival. The clink of crockery in the cafe falls away as we take the gritted path; behind the kitchen garden. A wild rose leans towards me in a breeze; ruby red berries glistening in the morning sun. Heading through a metal gate, the spring creaks as we step onto a wide muddy track, that cuts through a walkway of mature oaks. The fields unravel on either side, until the woodland ahead casts shadows at our feet.
A broad gate opens to a large pond, shimmering lime with algae. The comforting scent of humus layers the air as the woodland beckons me. Circling the property, small groves and staggering trees reveal handmade structures. Light penetrates the mature canopy, diffused by leaves. Nuthatches and Chiffchaffs chatter. Standing still a while, I whistle back their call and listen; each time enjoying the long pause before they call out a different rhythm that I repeat.
As we press on, others meet us from the opposite direction occasionally. We share a smile or greeting; much as the birds are doing above our heads. The stark slivers of sky pierce the green with light now and then, as wind lifts lower branches. The breathless pant of dogs and crack of twigs beneath their paws, accompanies the quiet thud of our boots. I stop to stare at the vivid lichen growing over damp, dark logs as it wraps around wooden limbs laying alongside the path.
I love to bookend the crescendo of family, food and festive music, with a walk in the woods. To honour the Earth, to capture the sunlight with my eyes for a moment and feel the trees surround me. Nature nudges me awake, coaxes me to create. It’s a beautiful way to begin a new year.
Wherever you are wandering this week, enjoy the fresh air!
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