“Going down the Woods to play Mum”, those were the words often heard by Mother back in the 1950’s and very early 1960’s. The Woods were somewhere where you could be Robin Hood, Roy Rogers, Davy Crockett or William Tell, they were a place where the little Copse close to the House became anywhere from Sherwood Forest to the deep Greenery of North America.
As years go by, the Woods do have the occasional comeback, especially when you’re spending free time with the Scouts and then once more when you’re lucky enough to have a Son. Naturally you make out to him that you’ve gone there so he can play, but deep down, you’re craving that imagination for yourself and a quick return or escape to youth!
But, you get to a stage where the Woods still hold their magic, but for other reasons and this is quite clear with me, my quest for simpler living, being more frugal and using the natural resources around me magnetizes me back, the dreams never fade.
Just fifty meters down the Lane from here there’s a Wood, only about 150 meters long by about 50 meters wide but this gives me a bounty of nature’s freebies.
From this small place I get fuel for the Rayburn, wood to carve making useful utensils for home and garden, food from the edge including Blackberries, Elderberries, a rogue Apple Tree. Then there’s the wild Horseradish, Garlic, Hawthorn and Chestnut. What more could you ask for, it’s like a free Shopping trip! (See Nature’s Free Gifts in Frugal Living)
No short trip to the Wood would be the same if you didn’t find time to sit and ponder for a while though. In a very pleasant spot there’s a Tree with roots forming a perfect resting place, made to measure for me anyway.
There I can sit knowing there are pairs of eyes in all directions looking at me, I usually can’t see them, but the rustling of a Bush, the scurry of leaves and flap of wings tell’s me this is so.
Whilst this is going on, you find time to do something which is quite difficult in this modern age….think. Not all of it’s nice, yesterday for instance I wasn’t thinking maybe I would see another Olympic Games in this Country, it was how many more I’ll see anywhere! These thoughts I’m sure we all have, but possibly never take what it is saying to you. For me it’s fact that time is getting shorter, you never know what’s coming up, so you start to make these positive thoughts in so far as what more you can make of your life, improve it for yourself and for others. It’s a great place to plan.
Mixed in with the future, you are also remembering the past, some sad, some happy thoughts go through your mind, but these usually end up with the want to be Robin Hood or Davy Crockett again, if only for just a few short minutes.
So, it’s a place for resource, pleasure, sadness, happiness and meditation, somewhere to go where you can be yourself, look in the mirror of nature for guidance and learn.
I have a phrase I use a lot, ‘never go home empty handed’, in the Woods this usually means three or four return trips, once I’m in there, there’s so much I find it hard to stop, a Log Cabin would be nice, I could gladly live in there.
Back home you have all the proof of your visits; the Wellington Boot Stand, the Pen Holders made from Branch, the Mug Holders, Runner Bean Poles, Dowsing Pendulums and more.
From the age of possibly three or four, the Woods have been a major part of my life, they will continue to be so, all the while we have the common sense to hold on to them and not see them as a nuisance, they will provide many with both material things and be a source for inspiration and wonder.
Alas, the imagination of youth has for many been washed away or hidden by the streeses and strains of modern living or just a laziness to sit down and listen to ourself. The Woods is somewhere to peel away those barriers and look into yourself.