Funny how sometimes it’s the smallest of things that can put a little perspective upon one’s life. For a while now I’ve been in what only could be described as a brooding mood of late. It just seems that where ever I turn or what ever I attempt there’s always something awry which tempers any feeling of achievement or that life is heading the right way. Take this week (oh please do), for the first time that I care to remember I was actually looking forward to my pay packet, after struggling and scraping for ages, this was to be the first one which was not going to have to fight against a bank balance that was in the red and would give us the chance to dream a little more realistically about the future. But oh no, God farts in my general direction once more and hey presto the turbo has blown upon the not so much fun anymore cruiser, repair bill will be three figures oh just bleedin’ wonderful. ‘The grind’ has contrived all month to make my blood vessels burst with the incompetence of management and the ineptitude of some of my co-workers, so much so that for the first time in a long time I’ve been bringing my anger home, not big and not clever! These, with a myriad of other silver lineless clouds have contrived to make me a surly and moody bugger of late, and believe me when I say that’s not pleasant for the people who love and care for me as they tend to get the brunt of my moods without me even realising it.
So what’s shown me the bigger picture? What’s put life a little more into focus you ask? Just the simplest of things really; a walk through the woods on a very blustery morning with Lucy at my side (oh alright sprinting ahead denying me once more of any chance of bringing you pictures of woodland fauna!). It didn’t hit me like a bolt out of the blue, indeed it was sometime afterwards that life sat a little more comfortable upon my shoulders. Let me try to explain and make some sense of what I’m trying to say for you, if I can;
In keeping with my recent resolve to lesson my impact on our living planet we set off through the streets of Buckley heading towards the nearby footpaths around the crops of corn that surround Bluebell woods. A mile into the walk our feet (and paws) left the tarmac of the road and headed down the access track to the sewerage works that border the corn fields. Already it felt as if something was amiss, the usual long grass between the tracks ruts was flattened and muddy, a little further on clear evidence of the culprits could be seen; about a dozen sloppy n still very fresh cowpats. At this point we’d come level to the corn as the track opens out to it with no dividing fence, what should have been a seemingly impenetrable border of corn, eight foot high, had been laid to waste over large areas with what resembled masses of vole runs blasting there way through the field, only these were cow size voles! Thing is I know where these cow came from, an adjacent field just a little further down the track. We moved on until the gateway of the field came into view where a distraught and very angry farmer was repairing the smashed remains of the gates fixing mechanism. It turns out that some local kids had thought that it would be a blast to release the cows, instead of playing on their X boxes or hanging around street corners trying to look menacing. Funny thing though that amongst the cows was a hired bull, which had apparently put the fear of god into the kids as he came through the herd hell for leather scattering them like so much chafe before a wind, pity he didn’t catch up to couple of them. But for me there was another downside, the footpaths around the fields were now basically impassable, one because they resemble a battlefield after artillery action and secondly there was still a herd of escapee cows and one pissed off bull hidden in the corn, not the place for me or a bog monster then. So we turned tail and headed home, disconsolate and in an even darker mood.
We trudged back up my driveway, where Lucy plonked her arse down by the cruiser (notice no fun) and looked at me as if to say “is that it then?” Well the cruiser is still drivable; albeit as flat as a pancake, so with thoughts of planetary concern as far as way as they could be we loaded up and headed towards Nercwys woods, at a very sedate speed I might add.
Even at this point the day had only served to darken my mood with no shining light of inspiration lighting my path. The first part of the walk took us through an area where the pines had been cleared about three years ago, overflowing along the pathway’s edges were swathes of plants that had dominated the area up until the man made pine forest had stole the light from them back in the 1960’s. Now with only the youngest of pine trees to compete with the old moorland plants such as heathers, gorse and bilberries burst forth drawing a more diverse range of fauna to the forests edges.
Upon entering the established woods only the odd, light starved, vestige of plants that had once dominated the surrounding hills could be seen, with the forest floor now dominated with shade loving fern, fungi and smothering carpets of moss and lichens prospering in the dank, dark conditions.
But as I continued on with Lucy now dripping with detritus from her latest mire find (should that be dire mire find?) I realised something about these woods that had nipped at my thoughts for a while but had never risen to consciousness; that these woods were new and young with no age whatsoever. Yes they were tall and dark in places and could be a great backdrop to a film about were-wolfs, you should walk here at dusk with a light breeze making the branches rub and the trees talk – you’d see, and compared to me they were oldish, truth be told about the same age. But they are not old, not when you compare them to the small areas of deciduous forests down south or the remains of the mighty redwoods across the pond. They are just another crop to be harvested by man, nothing more, they don’t even consist of trees native to this small island and so add little to the wild make up of it. Six thousand years ago
Britain was covered in what we call today the great wildwood, a forest that stretched from the cliffs of Dover to the highlands of . Now that would have been a wood worth walking through, where the trees could have told stories that went back even more thousands of years. Where boar, wolf, bear and wild cat roamed unhindered and the tapestry of life was rich beyond compare. Now we just have the vestiges of woodlands to wander through and are so much, I feel the poorer for it. This land has seen many changes since the great woods were felled, from Victorians mining the limestone here for its lead, to masses of sheep grazing windswept moors. Scotland
And how has this helped me you ask, it made me realise that on another scale my life and its problems, imagined or otherwise, does not really make a jot of difference to this world. When mankind is long gone, just like the heathers bursting anew from underneath the false woods shadow then the flora and fauna that make this planet so amazing will burst forth and once more find a balance. My troubles are small and irrelevant in the scheme of this planet, the best thing that I can do is smile, inwardly as well as outwardly, and face each day as a challenge, a challenge to show my love for my loved ones and a challenge to heal some little of the hurt of this world. Will I still have dark thoughts? Of course I will but there will be less and less of them as my journey goes on.
Thank you for reading this perhaps self indulgent post, sometimes though I find ‘speaking’ to faceless friends here in blogsville a way of sorting some of my thoughts out (although they still probably don’t make sense to you, the reader!) Oh and when the cruiser has its turbo fixed and can once again be called fun, if you know of some ancient or at least very old deciduous woodland that would welcome a bog monster and her long suffering companion onto its magical paths.......