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Asmoab

Bluebells

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There is a small wood near where I live, close by my town, which is steeped in history. At the northern edge of the wood, there's a walk along an earthen dyke, which formed part of the pre-Roman defence system. A few hundred yards to the east there is a barrow, a large mound of earth, housing the remains of some long-forgotten Bronze Age Chieftain.

I may well be wrong, but it feels like this small piece of woodland is a remnant of the ancient forests that covered most of Britain at one time. It has Oak, Beech and Lime. There are some Birch, and Silver Birch, and some massive Sycamore and Chestnut trees. Holly trees are very common in this part of the world, and are dotted throughout the wood, as are some Hawthorns, still sporting the remnants of their white blossom.

The entire floor of the wood is carpeted with Bluebells, giving the impression the trees are rising from a lilac sea.

I haven't got a particularly strong sense of smell, but the smell in the wood today was overpowering. It is rich, loamy, aromatic - the word smell doesn't do it justice. It feels like the atmosphere has somehow been infused with Spring in a way that makes it possible to inhale the season.

The quality of the light inside the wood is difficult to explain. All the trees are now green, but not the full deep green that will be there in a month or so. The upper branches are covered in small leaves that give a halo effect, at the top,where the sun bathes them. Where it passes them, streaming through the branches, it stipples the lower branches and the wood floor in wonderful ways. In the shade, the Holly green is almost black, whilst the tips of the Beech trees are the lightest emerald green. The bluebells vary, from deep blue to light violet, and the sunlight playing across them gives an impression of rippling sea.

I try hard to be mindful, inhaling deeply, conscious of the bird song, and drinking in this wonderful kaleidoscope of colours.

This isn't my usual dog walking route and the puppy is mad with excitement. He is careering off into every bush, with his back end wiggling fit to bust. It's only a small wood, but is crisscrossed with paths, so I just wander around it, and through it, and round it again. Obviously, there are other people out, taking their allowed one hours’ exercise, some of them with dogs. The dogs always want to sniff each other, and we pull them back, smiling and nodding apologetically in that British way, as we give each other a wide berth.

As I wandered, the unknowable myriad of my body’s processes were busy converting my breakfast into all that is necessary to fuel the regular rhythm of my leg muscles. As a side product, this miraculous process was sending millions of carbon dioxide molecules spinning round my body, through my lungs and out into the bright fresh air.

All around me, bluebells were doing their own breathing. Sucking the carbon dioxide out of the air and photosynthesising it into the carbon that is at the very centre of every one of their cells. Somewhere, in the wonderful infusion streaming up my nostrils, were the oxygen molecules they were exhaling.

In the most real and tangible sense possible, some part of me is still in Bluebell wood and some part of it is in me.

I like that thought.

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Comments

  1. dither's Avatar
    I often think of a wood that I used to walk through when I was a kid and one of my fondest memories is that carpet of bluebells, don't know if the wood is still there but I can see them as clear as day as I type this. It really was a wonderful, MAGICAL, place. You have a BARROW? How cool is that? I've always wanted to visit one of those sites. I have mixed feelings about those sites. Maybe I've watched too many films, read too many novels, but I often wish that it were possible to connect, in a psychic way, with those places, the history, the people, to glimpse another world, a moment in time, y'know?
  2. Asmoab's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by dither
    I often think of a wood that I used to walk through when I was a kid and one of my fondest memories is that carpet of bluebells, don't know if the wood is still there but I can see them as clear as day as I type this. It really was a wonderful, MAGICAL, place. You have a BARROW? How cool is that? I've always wanted to visit one of those sites. I have mixed feelings about those sites. Maybe I've watched too many films, read too many novels, but I often wish that it were possible to connect, in a psychic way, with those places, the history, the people, to glimpse another world, a moment in time, y'know?
    I really get that. I often think, when I'm somewhere historical, I'd give anything to go back in time to when this place was in its hay day and just see what it was like for 10 mins.
  3. dither's Avatar
    I imagine that it wouldn't be a pretty site actually.
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