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Morning sun in the beech woods

September 21, 2010

While today has been grey and drizzly, yesterday gave us a perfect September morning: low-lying mist and golden sunshine. On the way home from the school run, I couldn’t resist a detour to my favourite beech wood. It grows on the edge of a hill, which falls away precipitously to the river below.

The bank is so high and steep that it gives me vertigo, though I love that view of the tall grey trunks soaring up from it. Turning away from the river, the main body of the wood is more approachable in scale and gradient. The sun was still low enough to be tangled in the trees; the ground was dank and mossy underfoot.

In the still of the morning the woods were quiet, except for the hoarse screeching of jays arguing in the canopy: appropriately enough, since this place is called the Crow Wood, and what are jays but crows in party clothes?

One Autumn, we visited a friend in Hesse, Germany, and there walked through the beautiful golden beech forests of the Odenwald. The forests there stretch for miles and miles, criss-crossed by paths and cycle routes. This little beech wood of ours is extremely modest by comparison but it breathes, to me, a similar magic – and perhaps it is all the more appealing for being a little unkempt. From bird-filled branches to mossy, mysterious roots, it is a wonderful wood.

See also: Tuesday: ‘The Trees’; The inaugural Tuesday tree

19 Comments leave one →
  1. September 21, 2010 7:17 pm

    As always, Beastie, a wonderful post – very evocative pictures. I used to visit a stand of beeches that were red leaved and grew out of old British Army fortifications in Halifax, Nova Scotia and the light was magical there! What are the mounds off to the side of one pic and straight ahead in the distance in another?

    • dancingbeastie permalink
      September 23, 2010 4:56 pm

      Hi Janet, those mounds are just earth and gravel, I think – maybe from building a track down to the river years ago. Wonder how old those army fortifications must be?

      • September 24, 2010 1:56 pm

        Halifax was founded in 1749 as a bulwark against French threats in British North America and was immediately fortified with palisades and blockhouses, then gradually with more permanent fortifications. The height of the permanent fortification building took place during the mid to late 19th century. There are a string of forts in the large natural park located at the seaward end of peninsular Halifax and the one I spoke of was built in the third quarter of the 19th century and later overplanted with a grove of copper beeches when the forts were abandoned with the advent of longer ranged rifled cannon.
        The light shining through the copper beeches was magical.

  2. Margaret Lambert permalink
    September 21, 2010 9:02 pm

    A few days ago I stumbled across the Japanese word for sunlight filtered through leaves: ‘komorebi’. I happen to love words and added that to another favorite, describing the sound of wind blowing through trees: ‘susurrus”.
    Your photos of sunlight filtered through the beeches are lovely and the peridot green of the velvety moss makes me want to walk barefoot through it….
    A great post!

    • dancingbeastie permalink
      September 23, 2010 5:01 pm

      Thanks, Margaret. You have to love a language that has a word for sunlight filtered through leaves. Marvellous. I love words too and used to do an occasional ‘word for the day’ on Dancing Beastie – maybe I should start it up again.

  3. Wendy permalink
    September 21, 2010 10:40 pm

    This is lovely – specially love the first 2 shots.

  4. Mary Carver-Stiehler permalink
    September 22, 2010 10:52 am

    What lovely photos. It makes me think that is really an enchanted place and that you might see elves or fairies peeping out at you 🙂
    Camden, Maine

    • dancingbeastie permalink
      September 23, 2010 5:01 pm

      Do you know, it wouldn’t surprise me at all!

  5. September 22, 2010 11:08 am

    I love beech woods too!

  6. September 27, 2010 12:30 pm

    Beautiful pictures! Can you take some more for us once the leaves have changed colour please? I do so love this time of year!

    • dancingbeastie permalink
      September 27, 2010 7:30 pm

      Good idea – I’ll try to remember.

  7. Jessica permalink
    September 28, 2010 3:22 pm

    Such stunning photos. Thanks for the little reminder of ‘hame’.

    • dancingbeastie permalink
      September 28, 2010 5:49 pm

      You came! 🙂 Thank you for visiting.

  8. October 1, 2010 11:46 am

    Fantastic photos! Just hope this windy wet weather doesn’t blow away all the leaves before they have a chance to change colour, denying us a beautiful autumn.

  9. July 20, 2013 7:33 pm

    What a beautiful place! I think I could wander happily for hours in those woods.


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