As spring moves on

The woods seem to be all about green at the moment. Everything is verdantly announcing that spring is here to stay. The bluebells that were glorying in the sunshine are now becoming shaded by the spreading canopy above them. Tiny ash saplings on the wood floor have had their quota of sun for the year and it is only the tall branches of the trees that can stretch and feel the light energising their boughs.

The character of the wood is changing again. Wild garlic laces the wood edge with delicate white and within the wood the atmosphere is more intimate,┬áleaves blocking sight lines, screening glades and breaking up the wood into secluded clearings and carrells. If you stop and listen, there is a droning buzz high above – insects busy in the tree canopy. Every now and then there is a fleeting view of a butterfly – usually speckled wood and green-veined white surveying at ground level, but also high in the new leaves above a glimpse of white wings as a butterfly takes the high route through the treetops. Nuthatches are busy at nest boxes, tits too. I have found the discarded chipped away egg top from both a blackbird and a tit egg; there are chicks somewhere in the wood. I saw a jay today resplendent in pink and blue as it basked in a patch of sunlight and footprints are everywhere after the recent rain – badger, roe deer, red deer. Ferns are unrolling their delicate fronds, while male sycamore flowers cover the ground, their pollen dispersed, their function fulfilled.

The wood moves more than it did in the early spring. The new leaves on the branches flutter in the breeze, insects zigzag constantly just centimetres above the wood floor. Today I followed a huge, buzzing white-tailed bumblebee as it searched amongst the leaf litter and the openings in trees. Hoverflies suddenly stop stationary at eye level, checking out the leaves appearing in their living space. Flowers nod with the miniature shimmying trees – saplings waiting, poised hopefully for one of the larger trees to fall. Then they will have a chance to grow, shooting up to fill the canopy space and spread their leaves in the sun.

At the moment, the canopy is not full, and its colour is still the youthful green of fresh leaf. The wood has a restful, chilled out expression. Relief perhaps that the winter is definitely passed, and the summer days lie ahead.