Wednesday, 6 April 2011

A Walk in The Woods

Last week, I met up with an old friend and her two boys. We went on a walk to find a wood. We were looking for a particular wood, but we only knew it existed because my friend had accidentally found it while lost a few summers ago. This time we had to find it while not-lost. So we went in search of the wood that we knew existed somewhere near enough to walk but far enough away to have once lost our way. It was a rather perfect day for a journey with two small people, two big people, a packed lunch, and a pushchair (stroller). Pushchairs, by the by, can be lifted over kissing gates.

Like this one, many built-up areas in this part of the UK, have protected green space for wildlife, socializing, and long walks. We did manage to find the wood by looking up high for a copse of trees and walking toward them. We sat on this log and had our sandwiches. This cat followed us in and rather begged to be photographed. The floor (ground) of the wood is covered in bluebell plants. They should spring out sometime this month.

We saw the many places the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust had begun to make habitat for birds and hedgehogs and children inclined to playing house. The wood is rather small, if you consider that I used to live in Alaska, but like all planned wilderness in England, it has been perfectly formed to make long walks possible. The trees have been coppiced. It's a rather brilliant way of cutting back trees almost to the ground to create quick and thick regrowth and assures more wood for future use. One of the things people will tell you here is that island nations learned early the necessity of renewing resources--even if they are now having to remember that heritage. Coppicing and copses have a long history in the UK, and the British are particularly fond of their woods.The human need for a bit of nature seems a foregone conclusion to them.

I suppose that is rather obvious as so many of us grew up with the stories of Pooh and Tiger who lived in a wood. I have it on good authority that this is Piglet's house. Piglet, of course, couldn't climb the tree. His door had to be down and close to the ground. We did knock, but he wasn't in. I suspect we should have rung first, rather than just calling in. Surely then he would have been expecting us.

I can imagine spending a rather perfect childhood here. Doesn't it seem that this path leads to a long journey to just about anywhere? There is no poison oak or ivy here, and if you stand quietly enough, you can imagine noise from the motor way is simply a nearby ocean.

Even perfect days have to end. I've tried objecting and running alongside a small boy on a bicycle and sitting quietly reading books, but those things only extend the joy before dusk settles in. These are early spring flowers. I've been seeing them on people's lapels recently. What are they? What do they symbolize?

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