Major Project: Stories #2

Documenting my relationship with nature day by day:

18th January 2017

I woke early this morning because Jayne was leaving for work at half past seven. I made a start on the washing up once she’d left as I gazed in a half sleep state outside at the frost covered garden steaming in the sun.

I could have gone back to bed for another hour…”Or I could take Freddie for a walk to the West woods,” I thought. I decided the latter was the more sensible option, considering that I would no doubt be spending most of the day sitting inside drawing. Coat, gloves, boots, lead, dog.

I’m always nervous about taking Freddie for walks on my own because he can be very unpredictable on the lead around other dogs. I wanted to test whether this fear aggression was caused by being held back, pulled taught on a leash, sensing my anxiety. So I crouched down and took off his collar as soon as we reached the entrance to the woods. “Here we go, let’s see if this works and behave yourself!” I whispered to him.

There was some graffiti sprayed on to the gate and in my imagination I saw this as some ancient or secret language meaning, ‘Do not enter…or, enter at your own peril.’ The kissing gate to the right is always a challenge for Freddie. He approaches with caution, remembering that he must wait for me to open it and let him go through first.

We continued on the path for a few minutes before coming to a tree that had fallen down, blocking our way. We had to squelch our way through thick mud, underneath branches, snagged by twigs as they bent back, whipping arms and ankles.

The ground was frozen, crunchy underfoot. The silence made way for the sounds of birds cheeping and singing, rustling and whistling all around me. Every so often I would hear a “crack” and “splash” when Freddie walked over a icy puddle…his feet must have been so cold! His little head was covered in frost too where he’d been sniffing for rabbits the tall grass.

Every leaf, twig, branch and blade of grass had a dusting of frost and sparkled in the sun light. We neared a cluster of trees, it’s branches looked like diamond encrusted antlers from a mythical stag, standing tall and noble like a king at his coronation.

The red winterberries and yellow gorse flowers were the only vivid colours amongst the muted browns and greens of the landscape. However, as I looked up between the trees, the blue sky was so fresh and lively that the branches and twigs above looked like veins and capillaries stretching out in every direction. Blue tits and finches danced through the sea of colour as the robin sung to me.

The frost on a green bench, tucked secretly away revealed lots of tiny foot prints from a cat…evidence of their wanderings, adventures away from a domesticated life of tinned food and litter trays to the thrill of catching a mouse or an unsuspecting bird.

On my way out I happened across some wooden steps, reclaimed by nature, covered with leaves, moss, mud and ivy. They looked as if they could have been an entrance to some other enchanted realm where everything is covered in soft, lush mosses and lichen. Each cluster a microscopic ecosystem in itself, home to even more animals and
plants.

Posted by Daff Illustration on Wednesday, 18 January 2017

 

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