Tuesday 16 January 2024

Parsons Wood

 It's been a long time since I wrote anything here. I type these words on a blank page and wonder how on earth I'll fill the space. I can't remember how to update my profile and replace the photo Phill took of me more than ten years ago with something more suitably middle-aged (Note, 18th January: I worked it out!). I'm also typing around my cat Hellebore, who's trying to make a warming nest on my lap. She was a kitten when I started this blog, now she's a teenager. 

With one eye on the past then, this morning I walked to Parsons Wood. I don't think it's officially called Parsons, it's listed on the OS map as Vicarage Wood: 

This is the tattered old map that Phill and I bought when we first moved to the village twenty-odd years ago. Its folds are ripped now and there are blood stains all over it, no doubt from some argument with a dog rose or a bramble.

I walked through the village in biting January frost and down through Court Meadow into the woods. It's been a struggle to walk on the Wealden footpaths recently, our heavy clay makes them a cloggy, slippery business, our boots end up dragging mud and it's treacherous stuff, I can understand why many people give up walking in the winter. Today though the ground was solid and all boot, paw and hoof prints were caked with ice. 

I walked to the clottie tree that Rebecca, Johnny and I first dressed in 2010. Fourteen years have passed since then, Rebecca now lives in Greater Manchester, Johnny recently returned from seven years living in southwest France and the Four Quarters has taken a new form, but more of that another time. 

I gave the clottie tree a friendly pat and turned for home, stopping only to scribble the odd note, photograph a frosted leaf or stem and to soak up the winter sunshine.

I thought about how quickly life moves. The oak saplings in the fields were only a few inches high when I last stopped to look at them, now they're proper trees. Everything, even January, scoots by. Soon it'll be Candlemas and daylight will come swooping back to us with spring in its claws. 

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