Holding on to the spring

img_4770I can hear a woodpecker drumming, hammering its message to the trees around; ‘it is spring, and I claim this space.’ The noise is joyful, happy, the herald of the awakening wood. As I walk, tissue paper leaves whisper beneath my feet; their hearty autumn crunch has weathered away. Birds sing in the trees, a warm breeze strokes my face. Amongst the branches there are wisps of emerald, buds of elm, hawthorn, birch and honeysuckle all bursting into fresh greens.

The woodland floor is lawn-like; only at this time of year does everything hover at moss height – new grassy tufts, crowns of bluebell leaves with their central flower bud emerging at ground level, lords-and-ladies, ramsons. Such a rich green floor, made even more precious by studs of delicate primrose and deep violet. Warm air circulates, wrapping round my bare legs; the hot sun heats my back. A nuthatch sets off, annoyed at something in the distance, and the sound of bleating lambs drifts between the trunks. Bees cruise around sleepily, unsteady on landing; I catch a glimpse of a butterfly.

As the sun drops, the air cools. Rays of light twinkle, intermittently broken by twigs dancing in the breeze. Today, the sound of traffic is gone; the birds need not compete and the sound of their singing is beautiful as the evening draws in. I hate the noise of the cars, and yet now, the gap fills me with unease. Not so the wood; the wood thrives, a reliable constant in the strangeness.