In the enchanted wood
Late May is my absolute favourite time of the year. The green of the landscape is at its most intense, the wild flowers are scattered with abandon from the lap of Primavera and, like the lost land of Lothlorien, there is as yet no stain upon the beauty of the earth. Yes, I am an incorrigible Romantic, but not to be one would be a tragedy, living amongst such outpourings of grace. (Please be patient with my purple prose in these mitigating circumstances: I will try to rein it in a bit in future posts.)
Today’s tree, then, is not an individual but a wood: a landscape that epitomises, for me, the perfection of this moment in the turning of the seasons. This is a mixed woodland of oak, beech, holly, sweet chestnut, pine and firs. It is set on a bank which slopes down to the lochan frequented by wild fowl. Within the wood, we have met roe deer, red squirrels, rabbits, greater spotted woodpeckers, tawny owls and pine martens, to say nothing of the countless smaller creatures going about their business under our noses. A woodland is such an extraordinarily rich and dense habitat: I learn so much there and never tire of walking in it.
There is more. Beyond the ecology of the place, there is a sense of something deeper, more elusive, less scientific. Whether you think of it as the spirit of nature, the massive and inscrutable presence of the trees, an inkling of the Sublime or simply some wishful idea of fairies with dragonfly wings, there is no escaping the numinous sense of an older magic in the woods. Perhaps this photo might suggest just a glimpse of that enchantment. If not – well, I hope you like the bluebells.