I went for a walk today. It wasn't one of those brisk power-walking exercises but a slow ramble. The last time I went there, to the woods near Moniak, was sometime last year. The Forestry Commission had closed them off. Well they were open today, complete with proper markers for the route and information boards telling you lots of interesting things about the trees and the plants. It is a scientific preserve because it has a rare species of moss that is found nowhere else on the planet! The forest is also home to the tallest tree in Great Britain. How do they measure these things? I dare say that it is probably not by a wee man climbing up it and dropping a tape measure down!
I met four dogs and three people on my walk, but for the most part I was alone. I like being with people, but I am glad that I was alone. It was very peaceful and quiet. It was nature-quiet, which isn't really quiet at all. The river was very noisy. I wish I knew more about distinguishing bird songs as there was quite a bit of that.
I sat down on every available seat along the route, not because I was worn out, just because I wanted to stop and take it all in.
Everything was turning green. There were no leaves on the trees, but there was a lot of moss and lichen. It was very lime green and draped over branches. All the fallen trees and cut down logs were covered in the stuff. Bits of it had fallen off the tree and lay on the floor like the tree was shedding skin. You could almost feel things growing around you.
There was a very strong smell of wild garlic in one part of the forest.
It is not a natural forest, but planted by someone over a hundred years ago. A man travelled around the world and brought back seedlings of different kinds of trees and plants. He planted them to look like a natural garden. He built a stone bridge and a ruined folly. He created something quite beautiful.
What he saw then and what I see today must be so different. I see the mature trees when he saw just seedlings. I see how everything has grown together and matured. I see how the birds, the insects, the mice and the lichen have all moved in to what he planted and made it home.
It is something that God has planted in the hearts of people - the need to create. So we get cathedrals and great works of art, but I am glad that there are people who create something growing and changing like a forest.