an evening walk
Yes, another post about the great outdoors. But come with me if you will and, perhaps, you will see why not thinking about the green woods in May is like not thinking about the one you love in the first flush of infatuation. (Click on any of the pictures to enlarge them.)
We set off with the dogs into the woods behind the castle. It is around seven in the evening, at the end of a cool, sunny day. The lowering sun is shining over the lochan into the trees. The woods are loud with birdsong.
Under the trees, a millefleures tapestry is spread beneath our feet. Wild violets, wood sorrel, narcissi have been blooming for several days now.
Today they are joined by the first bluebells: within a week, we will walk in a haze of blue here.
Emerging on to the edge of the woods, we stop to admire a clump of kingcups in the burn,
while the dogs take the opportunity for a cooling paddle.
An osprey, returned from her African winter, circles watchfully overhead, calling her gentle, fluting cry. When the crows harass her, her call changes to a deep, echoing cronk; this evening, however, she is at peace with the world and sounds milder than a kitten.
Back under the ever-present trees, the sun has moved round while we and the osprey have been observing each other. It is time to turn for home.
On the way back up the hill, we notice that clumps of bracken shoots are beginning to unfurl all over the forest floor.
This moment when flowers embroider the grass is a fleeting highlight of the year. By next month, these delicate little curls of bracken will have become a dense forest, as tall as a child, crowding out all other contenders for the light. Just for now, though, we walk homewards on an emerald carpet of trefoiled wood sorrel.
On a day like this, I would not wish to be anywhere else in the world than this green paradise. Except, perhaps, back at my own door again after a walk in the woods.