Lowena Woods, a small oasis of woodland in a busy Cornish village. I used to walk through it every weekday, as I took my gaggle of mischievous girls to primary school. We experienced the wood throughout the seasons.
On autumn’s crisp, cool mornings, my daughters crashed through fallen leaves of red, brown, and gold. The rooks catcalled from their nests, atop jagged trees that soared into the steel grey, wintry sky.
Fragrant bluebells carpeted the floor in spring, while the trees regained their vibrant, green leaves. In summer, the earth underfoot became dry and dusty, while dappled shade provided respite from the sweltering sun.
Time passed, as it always does, my girls grew up. Only our amiable, black labrador walked with me now. He enjoyed snuffling around. Whereas I appreciated a chance to breathe; and just listen to the rustling leaves and the whistling, calling birds. When we lost the dog, I was bereft. I would catch myself calling his name. I had lost my walking buddy.
My journeys through the woods grew fewer, as my focus changed to the different needs of three teenage girls. Shopping trips to town, surfing in the sea, and visits to local theme parks, proved more attractive than simple walks through the woods.
Eventually, the wood called to me again. I had reason to seek it out. My first granddaughter was born right at the start of the pandemic. We were mired in lockdown, only allowed to walk outside once a day. I gave her mother a necessary break and pushed the baby in her pram along the familiar path.
Fallen trees, lost in winter storms, had changed the geography of the wood. Patches of bluebells grew in their familiar places. When awake, my granddaughter would gaze intently up at the tree canopy, until the motion of the pram sent her to sleep.
These days, she toddles happily along. Her enthusiastic enjoyment of the trees and tweeting birds remind me of her mother, many years ago. She solemnly names the items she encounters.
“Trees… birds… leaves… dog…”
I chat with her and we identify other interesting sights. Diggers build houses to replace a field where a pony used to graze, and a speedy squirrel scampers by. We walk out of the woods and meet roads, cars, and the village shop.
We chant our usual farewell.
“Bye bye woods…”
Merci pour la lecture!
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