I had to get out this morning. The walls were closing in on me. That's what comes of having all this wonderful countryside at your doorstep, you just can't stay indoors for longer than a few hours. Spoilt? Yes, you bet! This morning the weather was doing funny things, it was bright and sunny one moment and then overcast and threatening rain the next. After a 10 minute search for my raincoat (it was hanging in the wardrobe, what a stupid place to put it!) I managed to escape out into the wood.
It's amazing how good it feels out there, as soon as you step over that garden boundary the world changes to a better place. Time stands still and the rest of the world goes away. This time I was actually alone for once. By alone I mean no little dog. I felt a bit mean but it was damp out and she would have looked like a muddy, twiggy swamp monster by the time we got back. So I snuck out before she realised I was going. What a horrible owner I am!
I had decided to try some of the branching paths this time. There are so many directions to try that you have to have a bit of a plan and stick to it or you might never be seen again. I headed down a grassy track to the right of the main path, it was very different down there to the main track. There was a stream running along one side and trees to the left. It felt like the sort of path you would invent in a dream. I heard a call and a Common Buzzard came into view. It was circling low for quite some time and I had lovely views of it in my bins. In fact I think I moved on before the bird did!
The track went round in a square and I realised it would eventually take me back to the main track which was a result. On turning a corner I found a stone memorial to the previous owner of the wood. It was large, over three feet square and looked like Portland Stone, although I am no expert. It was engraved 'His Beloved Wood' and had a name and dates of birth and death. There were two split log benches either side of it. I wondered if the mans ashes were buried there. It made me feel sad to see it because he must have loved his wood so much and I knew that it was after the date of death that the estate was split up and our plot of land was sold off and other land split up. I said a silent thank you to the man for letting me walk in his special place.
On the way back I was treated to a wonderful view of a Roe Deer. I know it was a Roe Deer because I have finally found a pretty good ID guide online. It is really meant for Cornwall and Scilly but is good enough for my use. The deer I saw was a stag. He was so muscular and proud, so alive. I don't know how anyone could shoot them. I could not destroy something so magnificent. I was lucky that he was upwind of me and did not have a clue I was watching him. I stood partly behind a Hawthorn tree and pulled my hood up to hide my hair. He never knew I was there, I crept away after about ten minutes of watching him feed on the hedge. I felt truly honoured to have seen something so amazing let alone having it so close to my home.
Yet again, I feel blessed!