Going forward, life is all about nature and creativity…
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 quickly as we take the red gritted path, that slips 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 and a 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 the lower branches. The breathless pant of approaching dogs and crack of twigs beneath their paws, smothers the quiet thud of our boots. I can’t resist stopping to stare at the vivid lichen growing over damp, dark logs as it wraps around wooden limbs laying to the side of 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!