Another month, and this one starts with a heatwave. The mornings start cloudy and beautifully cool like fresh linen sheets, but by breakfast it is getting too hot to walk, though the shade of the trees is a blessing.
So, it’s out early, while the chaffinch and the wren are the only sounds, and back when the chain saw starts up by the weir, as they cut up the fallen beech.
It is now high summer, and most of the birds in the wood have fallen quiet. Having established their territories and found their mates, they don’t have the time to sing, for all their time and energy is taken up with feeding babies and young ones.
This year, however, the wrens are still going mad with testosterone and singing loudly. This is, I think, the price they are paying for a mild winter, for many more have made it through and are now having to compete ferociously.
The undergrowth has made the wood a totally different place to the wood of winter and spring. Paths criss-cross through the trees and nettles, and I make it a rule to follow the path less travelled, to see where it goes. I am a 21st Century Robert Frost, the American poet, who wrote:
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –
I took the one less travelled by,
And that made all the difference.”
h decision in life takes you down a different road, and we are making such decisions all the time. Even making no decision is a decision and will take you somewhere. Generally, I’ve found that making no decision is the easiest decision to take, but I’ve found that where you end up is often not as good as the alternatives.
The less-travelled paths are flanked by red campions and lesser willow herb, and the sunny clearings are a carpet of buttercups and blue cranesbill and yellow flag iris.
I follow the paths to new discoveries, like the iron work on the river where they do something with the water flow (sic). The flow in the river is brown and low and sluggish. The summer river is nothing like the winter river.
But it is the light, more than anything else, that is different. Even in the darkest parts of the wood, the sunlight flickers and dances. It trembles on the surface of a sycamore leaf, and fills the dark spaces with fertility and shafts of spot-lit flies.
This is the time the lion rests.