Three minute read and ten minute film
The woodland creaks with the sudden hail storm, tender newborn ramson leaves shudder under the dissonant strikes of unseasonal ice. A coldness casts its enchantment over the mossed boulders, defying the turning of the wheel of the year.
Yet life emerges.
As dark shadows claim the sky, stealing away the blue once more, a cock Blackbird alights on a bare sycamore branch and dares to raise his voice. Echoing across the canopy, weaving some strange magic through this wooded landscape, he charms the souls of all within earshot, human and other than human alike.
A harbinger of spring perhaps? Or simply a humble being who knows it’s time to step up, to live his life and tell all others about it? Rattling away deep in a naked blackthorn a Chiffchaff courageously courts his world in the old tongue, the language that speaks to our tired hearts.
At first glance this old wood seems little changed in the past month. The bare canopy thinly covers the cold breadth of the place. Boulders, still icy to the touch, hulk and swell in the old rhythms of the passing millennia. At first glance nothing appears to be stirring.
But all it takes is a shy kiss from the warming sun. As mid March clouds blow and part, sunlight yellows the ground and sparkles on the new verdent beings that presume to rouse from a wintery slumber. Dog’s Mercury, Nettle and Honeysuckle join the Wild Garlic in a symphony of emergence. Still very much a practice session before the full ensemble, but enough to give heart to a queen bumble bee who urgently seeks her first sip of nectar. I wish her good fortune in her hunt.
As the days pass deep in this forested corner the beings shake themselves awake. Robins and Wrens sing of truth and beauty, a Mistle Thrush serenades those slow to leave their slumbering hollows. Showing the way, showing the way.
On the edge of the wood Roe bucks flaunt velvet covered antlers. In the shaded pool drakes preen in honour of the oncoming spring watched by their partners. A Heron stares silently, waiting to satisfy her winter hunger, knowing her time is coming.
All of this glorious nature doesn’t know or need hope. As I shiver on a greening rocky outcrop I realise this woodland is just getting on with it. Courageously, elegantly, stylishly keeping in step with the turn of the year. Nothing here is pondering the what ifs, buts and if onlys as they peer out from the death grip of winter. They just get on with it. Life here cycles without question, without moaning, without self pity or defeat.
Sitting in the midst of this bravery I know that I too can do this.
Whatever this particularly challenging spring may throw at me I know that I too can emerge in whatever way my circumstances permit. The Warblers in the Honeysuckle, having flown thousands of miles to be here in this wood, know they can do it. Their songs burst out as a signature of strength from their twenty metre circle of influence, drawing in the life force of the coming summer.
The young Roebucks, along with their consorts hold their heads up with pride despite the haunting memories of wolf, spear and gun. They show the path of beauty which climbs inexorably from the dark places. New life is being nurtured.
Somehow these greening corners are showing the way this year. Can you feel it too? As we cast our gaze deeply into the soothing eyes of nature we can know there’s a way through this. We don’t need to know the details any more than the Thrush or the Robin, we don’t even need to hope.
There’s so much solace in the watching, in being curious and awestruck by the world around us, whether that be wood, meadow, pavement crack or park.
It’s happening. Life is emerging once more. And we are sewn into this grand tapestry.
The Nature of the wood conspired to give me a film which we share with you here... Emergence - Elegance - Courage. May it inspire your emergence too.
I've decided to make a print available of the deer photo. Click below to find out more.