Today I noticed a small track in the woods I’d never seen before. There are a number of old earthen paths criss-crossing the heavily wooded sections which connect to the main trail I tramp along most days. Many of them are little more than a memory of a passageway through the trees, and often fade away or end abruptly.
Over the years I’ve explored most of these tracks in an attempt to give my dog – and myself – a bit of novelty.
So I was surprised at this revelation because I should have spotted it ages ago. Still, it was fun following it, ducking under branches and weaving between the pushy shrubs that were crowding the path. It lead back to the main road via a small gap in the stone wall encircling the woods I also hadn’t seen before.
While returning I took a small detour into a perfect circle of trees – pine, holly, ash and hazel were among those I identified. It was eerily still. This area is heavily carpeted in moss, so much so that you’re never sure if the footing underneath is solid, or if your boot will sink into the green foam. I stood in the centre and looked up at the film of clouds above me, and was very conscious of the mood of the woods.
It’s funny how a location can possess a personality – even if it’s just a projection of your own fancies. Sometimes the woods seem chipper and glad for my visit, other times they radiate a glum forbearance. What, you again? they seem to say as they turn up their leaves at me. It’s the result of having a relationship with a place. You learn its characteristics and its nuances. You build up trust.
So, at some point, you get something new. I guess that’s friendship.
I looked down and saw a beautiful mushroom, cradled by moss. I took this photo. Just the one. It came out perfect.
I said thank you. The woods sighed, and waved me along.