Whenever I feel I need to find my way home I leave the house and head for the woods. Without making any conscious decision my feet took me there yesterday evening, into the park and up the path through the trees, and I’d only gone a few yards when I knew I was exactly where I should be.
The sun was low in the sky and the canopy was lit from behind, and I stood in the cool dim world of tree trunks and leaf mould and gazed up into the green and the gold, into a whole unreachable landscape so high above me all I could do was stand and marvel at it.
These trees are old, and immensely tall. Standing on the steep side of the valley and close together they have stretched upwards and upwards to reach the light, and I never come here without feeling grateful to whoever it was that planted them so many years ago, and grateful for everything that’s here. Some of the younger ones are heading upwards as fast as they can but still have leafy branches lower down, and their leaves pattern the depths, splashing silhouettes of dark against light.
I walked slowly up the path that was cleared earlier this spring, my feet crunching beech mast and dry leaves, and I could hear no other sound except wood pigeons, and I kept saying thank you, thank you, thank you as I breathed in the green and the light and the wonder of the beech trees.
Coming back down the path I was walking slowly almost as if I were in a dream, and almost missed a dragonfly which had to swerve to avoid me. Last weekend a little boy asked my sister if dragonflies breathe fire! How I wish they did, and that she could have told him that they do – but to me they are almost as magical anyway, just as they are. For a moment this path in the woods felt like an enchanted place, and like a gift. It felt like coming home.