My father was a forester and my grandfather was a forester. I was thinking about them yesterday while I was walking in Newslands Forest after the rain.
I love everything about the forest. The way the green swallows you, the leafy softness, the smell of pine and wet earth. All that makes me feel small, as if I’m walking beside my father and my grandfather, both long gone.
|Mossy bark blurs in soft light.|
Yesterday afternoon the forest hovered just there, between the rain and a clearing in the sky. The pine trees had wet bark like dark elephant skin and a single red leaf twirled in a secret current of air, like a ruby pendant in the green.
In the forest I love walking, just walking, without plan or path. As a path appears my feet follow it, or not. I like getting lost this way, twisting and turning deeper into the forest, taking faint little paths disappearing into knee-high ferns. Sometimes I let myself go into darkness, where the path disappears into a tunnel between low-hanging branches.
And then, a clearing. The ruins of the woodcutter’s cottage in Newslands Forest has clover growing out of old stone walls and mossy rocks scattered around spaces that were once rooms. The oaks have crisp and fresh new leaves that have dropped like green flyers after the rain and wind, giving notice of spring.
On my way back wood smoke drifts on the cool evening air. It’s a fragrance made from the warmth of a room, a cooked supper and soft light. Home of a forester’s child.
|Swaying strelitzias at dusk.|