Amos and I went up to the woods yesterday. As we walked there over the fields, mist cloaked our trees from view. Sound was deadened and the world looked different. There was a feeling I didn’t recognise. Then out of the mist we heard bleating, and a tiny wobbly lamb was making its way towards us.
As we entered the wood, there was bird song; high branches were hazy with fog. Spider webs heavy with moisture laced buttress roots and trunks. Something was afoot, the wood was shifting; possibility dripped from the trees.
Amos and I walked up to base camp. We could see signs of badger everywhere, deer too. The brown leaf litter floor of the past four months is being resculpted by bluebell leaves suddenly three or four centimetres high.
Once at base camp we lit a fire. We were expecting friends. We put on the kettle and Amos went off in search of sticks in the shapes of letters – he usually only manages ‘l’, ‘y’ and sometimes ‘t’ and he’d bagged them all before the kettle had boiled. Drops of water began to patter down on us, but it wasn’t rain, my immediate thought. A light breeze had arrived, knocking the suspended droplets from twigs in the canopy. The mist began to swirl.
Mark and our friends arrived. Today was firewood day – several trees were marked for felling. Amos and I were on tea duty and I had promised he could make dropped scones. As the others began with the chainsaw, Amos and I set to. I took off my coat and Amos took off his gloves – I felt strangely unencumbered. Amos decided it was important to go on his swing before cooking. He shouted over, ‘Mummy, we haven’t had dropped scones for years!’ It wasn’t exactly years, but it had definitely been a while.
We cooked the dropped scones – they were delicious, Amos did a great job. We made more tea. Then Mark suddenly shouted us over to look at a sycamore that had just been felled. Rising sap was welling up out of the cut surface of remaining stump and running in rivulets down the trunk. I felt quite emotional – I was seeing the life blood of the trees. And that’s when it hit me. The changes, the anticipation in the air, the things that had felt different about the day – it was the arrival of spring. I felt my spirits lift. I know very well there are still cold wet days to come, that spring is only making it’s first tentative steps, but the wood is yawning and stretching after it’s sleep of winter, sap is rising and that’s enough for me.