Tuesday, 5 October 2010
Middle earth calling............
Do you believe in the little people? Of course you don't (TFE excepted!) and yet - and yet. I used to love the books 'The Little Grey Men' and 'Down the Bright Stream', both written by 'BB' (the pseudonym of W Watkins-Pitchford) and I also enjoy both 'The Hobbit' and 'Lord of the Rings'. Alright, so that doesn't make me a believer in such things but it does add a certain piquancy to one's afternoon walk.
Yesterday was the most glorious day here - warm, sunny, light breeze, clear air, big skies. Tess and I walked the two miles down the lane to Forty acre wood, The wood was magical, sun streaming through the trees, a long vista down the ride, pheasant everywhere, even a roedeer among the trees. We saw not a single human being on the whole walk, just grey squirrel, pheasant, partridge, deer, rooks a plenty, rabbits by the score. On a day like that anything is possible.
Coming back the lane is very slightly uphill and I am beginning to tire (not Tess, she is totally tireless) so I try to engage my mind in some serious thinking so that I am not thinking about the gradient all the time. Remember I had just seen that magical wood, some beautiful ferns, a lovely patch of big toadstools - oh yes, anything is possible on a day like that:-
Cloudberry and Sneezewort were out in Forty acre wood collecting produce for their winter store in the old tree trunk. Cloudberry had his little wheelbarrow and Sneezewort a sack over his shoulder. There was much to collect for the elderberries were ripe - just ripe enough to make their favourite wine; the rowan berries glowed red on the changing trees - they had to gather those before the mistle thrushes got there; the hazel nuts were so ripe that they were beginning to fall onto the ground - that would never do, the pheasants would soon clear them up.
Here and there were patches of fungi - and of course these little gnomes knew exactly what was eatable and what was poisonous. They were both very busy when suddenly Sneezewort put a hand on Cloudberry's shoulder and said,
"Shh! There's a human coming, I can feel the ground vibrating."
Pushing their spoils under a pile of beech leaves they crept quietly under a nearby fern, and watched as the human, with her little dog, approached.
Now gnomes are not awfully keen on dogs with their powerful noses and they began to tremble as they saw the little black nose approaching. When it reached the fern it
stopped, sniffed once or twice, then - much to their surprise - the little dog gave a jaunty wink and whispered,
"Your secret is safe with me. Us non-humans have got to stick together."
If you believe that you will believe anything. But do believe one thing - yesterday Forty acre wood was bristling with wildlife and with magic - so anything is possible.