Something a little bit different this week. I knew I wanted to share with you the walk I took in a woodland full of bluebells near where I live, but in a moment of inspiration the story wanted to be written as fiction, giving a new dimension to my words and a departure from my normal style. So this is a story based on real events - I hope you enjoy it.
She was fed up with drizzle. It had been grey for days and a sense of cabin fever and a need for fresh air was setting in. So when finally the day promised to turn out brighter than it began, she laced up stout shoes and headed out the door.
Breathing deep the still cool (although it was almost May) air, her spine straightened as legs stretched out and arms swung free. With camera in hand, details came into sharper focus as eyes alighted on a shimmering pink dog rose recently unfurled, fresh new leaves on trees and pin pricks of white hawthorn blossom in the hedgerows.
Leaving behind the main road and the noise and smell of traffic, rounding a corner she was confronted with a wall of purple! Trailling wisteria cascading over a fence, the delicate blooms in shades of lilac enjoying their moment in the spotlight. Camera clicking, and a smile on her face she was entranced by the gently swaying fronds, beautiful scent rising in the air.
But onward, reaching the meadow that protected the entrance to the wood, grass and wildflowers growing, reaching for knee height, the cuckoo flowers she remembered fondly from last year already passed, but other colours ready to take their place. The quiet soothed, she felt as if time slowed, there was nothing more important than being here, now.
Following the carefully tended path she reached the trees and passed into their shadows. Mighty oaks, slender silver birch, and smaller crowds of hazel among others, all filling out their spring foliage in variegated greens, casting a glow to the ground as the sun shone through from overhead, sometimes finding a clear space and spearing down right to the ground.
But oh the bluebells! This is what she came for! That quintessential carpet of luscious blue and violet among the green, the bells ringing a silent clamour in the breeze. Wandering freely she gazed left and right, the colours sometimes deepened in shade, sometimes vivid and shining in the sun. She left the path occasionally, picking her way carefully through autumn's fallen leaves, twigs crackling underfoot, brambles snagging at her jeans, to reach hidden pockets of the most concentrated flowers. Camera still at the ready, she bent low to the ground, capturing the world from the bluebells' perspective, framing their perfect arching stems, enraptured by their shades and tones, the sunlit shimmer, and their delicate beauty.
Finding the path again, she continued on, deeper into the woods, hearing joyous laughter in the distance and coming upon a trio of young girls playing among the tree stumps searching for faery hideaways and magical worlds. Later, she passed an old woman sat on a bench by the path, her face raised to the sky and a smile on her face as she listened to the birds singing high in the trees. Finding a bench of her own she sat to rest, pausing to take in as much as she could with all her senses - well, except taste, not being an experienced forager. But the sights and sounds around her, the scents wafting in the air, and the feel of wood and bark beneath her fingers, she tried to imprint them on her memory, not just taking photographs with her camera, but immersing herself fully in the natural world, absorbing its energy, the peace, the warmth of the patch of sun she sat in, and the timelessness.
It could have been moments or hours later, she continued on her way, passing fallen giants being slowly submerged by the spreading undergrowth, patches of ferns, their delicate fronds slowly uncurling, and clearings made by man to coppice and maintain the wood. Nearing the end of the path, she felt drawn towards a tree, a tall and straight oak standing as a guardian of this place. She placed her hands on the textured trunk, rested her forehead against the bark, and thanked the tree for allowing her to share in the tranquillity, and wished the woods well for the coming season.
For all she knew she may have floated home, so light did her heart feel, so calm her mind, so warmed her soul. She won't return to the woods while the bluebells still bloom, but later, when summer begins to wane and autumn's colours put on their flaming spectacle, she will go back there and once again sit among the trees as the sun shines down on the earth and the branches dance in the breeze.