Daily rambles

I’ve probably often mentioned this, but one of the greatest benefits of unschooling is that I get to spend at least two hours in the place I love the most, the mountains. (Well… Hills. But I consider them mountains, not having ever lived in a country where mountains are actually mountains.)
I live in the city, sadly, but I am blessed by the fact that with just a few minutes in the car I can be in the forest.
You’ve probably guessed just by the name of this blog that yes, I am a tree hugging hippie in many respects. You have guessed correctly.
We usually go on the same walk, but the benefit of that is that you begin to see things more clearly, because you know the area so well. I could probably find my way around the valley with my eyes closed at this stage! The trees where we walk are mostly sitka spruce, a beech wood, and a mixed wood where there are beech, sitka spruce and a sprinkling of ash at the edge. There’s an abundance of hawthorn to the north closer to the farmer’s land, a beautiful elder (elderberry) tree in the ash area, one or two budleia along the first path, birch, sweet chestnut, larch near the car park and a ragged mixture of gorse, heather, moss, and reeds in the area where the spruce were felled some time ago. It’s incredible to watch how that entire area sprang back after being cut, from being piles of grey, bare branches to a flourishing habitat filled with birds and deer. For plants, there is a lot of rosebay willowherb, heather and gorse, foxglove, nettles, coltsfoot, rushes, bracken, countless amounts. There’s plenty of fungi but I am sadly not at all familiar with their names, apart from sulfur tuft (There is a LOT of that around) and fly agaric.
The animal life is also alive, with deer constantly around, fox tracks, ravens, woodpigeons, chaffinches, robins, coal tits, jays, etc. Just this morning we were going up into the beech wood when the chaffinches we had spotted for the last few days were even more lively than usual. We sat quietly for a while and watched them feeding on (We think) the beech mast all over the ground. I’d say there were between 20-40 of them. As we reached the top of the beech wood there were two jays flying between the branches overhead.
There are a thousand stories I could tell about those forests, and I don’t think my keyboard would hold up if I tried to recount them all, so for now I’ll head onwards to other, less computer based activities.
By that I mean carving a handle for my (proudly hand smithed) knife. That’s what it will probably mean for the next week or so until I finish it. Or knitting. I’m knitting a lot lately too.


The day I went out walking

I just wrote this poem and have not edited at all, so excuse any odd wording or repetitions

One day I went out walking, a mountain stood before me.
Its fingers stretched out to the clouds, frozen in grey cold shards.
I wondered what had happened there, many years before.
Maybe some person went to the forest, running from their troubles,
They reached out their fingers in sorrow, and they cried,
Their tears running rivers, forever held in stone.
Maybe a tree was falling down, taking in the last rays,
Its bones held solid, but its life falling away,
It set itself into the stones, and stretched out to the sky.

One day I went out walking, a river ran beneath me,
Its rushing waters pulled at my heart, flowing through the world.
I wondered how its banks had carved, running to the sea.
Maybe the sky filled up too much, the water brimming at the edge,
When a mighty force called on the flood, the water poured,
It fell among giant tumbled stones, to run down to the sea.
Maybe life got all too hard, for a soul with a broken heart,
Her tears poured out, into the earth, who cradled her like a child,
The trees took her sorrow, and turned it into life.

One day I went out walking, the sun shone above me,
The shining rays sent warmth, piercing my cold blue skin.
I wondered why it burned so bright, always beating down.
Maybe in the night some child was cold, even with the fire below,
His mother despaired for his life, desperate for some warmth.
She sent her fire to the sun, and rekindled the burning light.
Maybe the trees sent back the light, and set it burning again,
The sun shone down once more, to warm the hearts of men,
And we danced in joy, to feel the gaze of the ever watching star.

That day I went out walking, the path was guiding my weary feet,
Footsteps worn by thousands, years before til now.
I wondered how many had stepped this road, although there was no one.
Maybe a child who danced and played, a father watching closely,
Maybe a worker carrying loads, a hunter out with the strangest eyes.
A person seeking ones once lost, to tell them all the forgotten times,
Maybe somebody didn’t know, where this path would lead,
They simply had to leave their past, through this stony path, this arch of leaves.
They ran to find a new life, and their feet fell where I stand.