Monday, 15 August 2016

Light







I wandered out onto the lane this afternoon to photograph the Light, which is bright and hot and vibrating today.

Our lane winds down through trees that were once, long ago, part of an ancient forest. As far as they are concerned, they still are. Owls live among them, badgers tunnel beneath them and the wind sighs through them in the same way they did before the trees at their backs were cut down.

The lane is a mile and a half long, with a handful of houses scattered along it, and it has its own entry in Domesday Book, which records it in 1086 as being 'once worth 10s but now waste'. Traces of the ancient forest remain in the trees that line the tarmac, in the botany that grows along the verges and in the old forest boundary ditch that can be traced through gardens about half way along the lane.

I know the plants that grow here well, having spent many happy hours in their company, but as is only right and proper, they still have the capacity to surprise me. Witness the Star of Bethlehem which opens briefly before 5pm and is invisible at all other times, giving it its country name of 'Betty Go To Bed At Noon'. That one was a surprise when I saw it earlier in the summer as I walked up the lane after checking on the badgers. I took M back to find it an hour later and it had disappeared. I haven't seen it since.

The plants that grow along the lane are all woodland plants, dark green and leafy, for the most-part close-coupled to the earth with the exception of a few willowy beings, and faithful to their forest past. I suspect, if we were to stop managing what grows in our garden, the forest fauna would reassert itself there too in a year or so. It holds to the edges where I am very happy to see it, and where it draws like-minded souls to its company.

Gardens are our homage to The Wild. A way of keeping faith with our past, an expression of an unconscious need to have the reassurance of The Wild nearby, even if we no longer live quite so cheek-by-jowl with it. We are, after all, only a thousand or so years away from living very cheek-by-jowl with it indeed. It's not long, in the great scheme of things. Not long enough to erode the need away at least.

To sit in a garden is to know Peace and Comfort and Joy, but to walk out in The Wild is to commune with Earth Magic and to feel through it, Alive, to have your wits sharpened and perhaps, sometimes, to feel just a tiny bit Afraid and a little less certain of the rightness of our dominion over the world we live in.

Wandering down the lane time did that thing it always does to me in Woods, where it ceases to operate normally and instead holds you in a sort-of spell that remains unbroken until you leave the fringe of the trees.

I felt irritation with the cars that drove past, as if they were intruding and didn't belong there. I became completely absorbed in the world of trees and plants and dappled light coming through leaves. I was mesmerised by the bright green of the Hazel leaves; by the small blonde circles of paired nuts on the boughs, their elfin green hats perched jauntily on their heads; by two Speckled Wood butterflies twirling around one another as if joined in a permanent Catherine Wheel dance; by the ancient trickle of water as the brook tumbled down the lane; by the took! took! took! alarm call of the Thrush in the bank warning of a fox or a weasel unperceived by my dulled human senses; by the thousand small rustlings of tiny things making their way through the vegetation.

I emerged some time later and came back through our gate slightly mystified as to where the time had gone and to how little I had registered its passing. It does the soul good to escape modern life once in a while and to become submerged in places that still heed the call of The Wild and haven't lost touch with it. We need it more than we realise.

CT.





17 comments:

  1. I do so agree about getting away from it all and losing oneself in familiar surroundings quite near to home. I love the way you have captured the light in your photographs.

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  2. What a beautiful, lyrical post and how lucky you are to have such a magical place so close by. I love the photos. It's amazing how much a countryside walk can soothe the soul - I can well understand your irritation with the passing cars! xx

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  3. Beautiful you are so right we do need to escape the modern life and heed the call of the wild more often. Sarah x

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  4. There are places like this that you know well but still find different things to wonder at. This is the layering of history and time that you have described beautifully.

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  5. Your lane sounds magical, I love it. If only everyone could see the magic the world would be a different place. x

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  6. How lovely that you have somewhere so magical right on your doorstep. I completely agree about how good it is for the soul. Long may the wildwood survive. CJ xx

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  7. Quite a lovely post today. How wonderful that you are so close to the old world forest.

    cheers, parsnip and thehamish

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  8. I wonder who has walked along that lane in years gone by. The trees must have seen so much. Long live the Wild woods.
    Happy wandering. xxxx

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  9. Your writing is so evocative - I was almost walking with you. How precious these old ways are, not only for our ecology but I suspect also for our souls imagination. x

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  10. Such a wonderful evocative post, I've always admired your way with words x

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  11. beautiful, as always. and yes so very *yes* to all that you've written. xoxo

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  12. I agree! I love the light shining through the trees. I too love the woods. There is nothing else like it. My husband calls himself a hunter, but really he love being by himself in the woods watching nature. He comes home with all kinds of stories about animals he watched or some unusual plant he wanted me to see.

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  13. Second flights of speckled woods are out, they are very active at the moment

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  14. Do you ever write poetry? Your writing is very poetic....

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  15. I do so love this. Your post has me besotted with where you live, (and the history!). Utterly magical. And there's nothing quite as powerful as the Wild.

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  16. What a beautiful post CT, sounds like a wonderful place to live. I so agree that it does the soul good to escape to the wild. I will miss our woods and the the Speckled Wood butterflies that visited our garden, but now I have Housemartins sharing our new house, I feel very privileged.

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Thank you for leaving a comment. I always enjoy reading them and will try my best to reply to every one. CT x