A Year in the Woods: June

June is the month where I see quite a lot of 4 o’clock in the morning thanks to a body which really likes waking up with the sun. Not that I’m complaining since it means that I pretty much get the woods to myself and, if I’m quiet, see the young rabbits and foxes and birds as they grow in both size and confidence.

The bones of the wood are no longer visible, cloaked and carpetted in every shade of green you can imagine (and probably quite a lot we cannot) the spring flowers being subsumed into the dense shrubs, ferns, brambles, nettles and other ground cover. The wild garlic continues to smell but the blossoms fade and the brightest burst of colour in the heart of the wood belongs to the purple rhododendrons which are almost as exuberant as the dawn chorus. In the field on the edge of the wood the poppies are blooming alongside mallow and bindweed.

The leaf canopy expands to its fullest and thickest and, as it does, it changes the quality of the light reaching the woodland floor. Pre-dawn the gloom is grey-green and holds an almost preternatural stillness that demands delicate steps, soft breath, and an attention to the details of the shadows. As the sun moves up and over the horizon the green shifts, taking on a yellow glint and glimmer that infuses the air with a magic beyond that of nature. The sheer abundance of vibrant growth resonates through every living thing that sets foot in there and I am no exception; I find myself almost prayerful, so filled with gratitude that I am allowed this experience as often as I wish. 

I’ve taken far fewer photographs and videos on my walks this month than normal; half the time I’ve simply forgotten I have my phone with me and when I have remembered I’ve often not wanted to lose the immediacy of the experience by placing a screen between me and the wood. That said, I do have some pictures and videos to share with you and I hope you enjoy them:

  • A purple blue sky is visible through the tree canopy. The wood itself is bathed in grey green light.
  • The sun is just visible above the ground, between the tree trunks. The light in the wood is greenish yellow.
  • Purple rhododendron flowers fill a grove visible through a gap in the shrubbery in front of it.
  • A path between tall trees, brightly lit by the sun now half way up the trees. The light in the woods remains yellow green.
  • The sun is fully risen and glinting through the trees making patches of vivid light on the tree trunks.
  • A fallen tree makes a doorway, forming the lintel with two living trees and the rest of the door frame.
  • A broken off tree stump plays host to a stack of plate-like fungi which climb it like stairs.
  • Several pink flowers with five petals all of which have deeper pink veins on them.
  • A single poppy flower with a seed head to its immediate right.
  • Bindweed is covering several dead trees and blooming, the pink bell flowers standing out in the sea of green leaves.
The stream that flows to the mill pond (and yes, I did take that crisp packet away, I alway litter pick when I walk)
A lone duck on the mill pond with birdsong accompaniment.
The rhododendrons at the heart of the wood
The glorious greenery at the north end of the wood
Woodpecker drumming and other birdsong

 And as a final bonus, a short amount of somewhat shaky footage of one of the many magpie families who live in the wood and often avail themselves of the food on the bird feeder:

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