There is nothing better than spending your Sunday morning in the woods. Mr VP and I got up early and headed off to a local place that we both love, and even though it was a weekend and is usually heaving, we were some of the only souls around. The birds were singing in the trees, the sun was shining (though it was broken and softened by the pine trees and beeches that fill the place) and I began to wander around, filling my heart up to the brim with this place, a place Mr VP and I know like the backs of our hands.
Ahh, that view, with its flat-bottomed trees and much gazed-upon vista of blue-grey hills and rolling countryside. The woods, deep and dark and damp; full of life, full of insects and birds and squirrels. Full of the pine trees that I have longed for, longed to walk amongst; for I must be, somewhere in my long-lost lineage, a person who once lived amongst them. I imagine the woods unfolding as I wander amongst them, opening their arms and giving up some of their secrets; telling me what the beech tree feels like to be nibbled upon by the caterpillars who a then work to spin themselves the most intricate tents of silk on the branches, so that they might better nibble undisturbed. The woods are singing their songs, the needles whistling and swirling, whilst the rest of the forest sings a song of endeavour and business.
I stopped to watch this solitary female bumble bee (colloquially ‘bumbla‘) crawl around looking for either her nest or a good place to site one. All the while, she was absolutely uninterested in our fascination with her as she simply carried on her business. Likewise, though the birds acknowledged our presence, they were not fussed at us being there. We watched as the diminuitive (yet lovely) nuthatch vied for space on the feeder, sharing her space with baby blue tits and a blackcap (one of the sweetest of the garden warblers), while the pheasant (poor thing, in mid-moult) wandered to the bottom of the feeders, looking for scraps.
We were there in time to capture the last of the rhododendrons in full bloom and, for a second, it felt for all the world as if we were back in late May and summer was just around the corner. The heat and the sun told us otherwise, though. The birdsong, not as vibrant as in May; the woodland more dense and green than May, too. Everything was in its peak, flowering, growing, blooming. The ferns and the mosses that line the banks of the streams are at their loveliest point right now too, green and lush. Too soon the babbling brook will become quiet, as August will dry it out, making it muddy and empty until the rains of October fill it up again.