A Silence of Deer
I need a fixed point - an anchor - the world spilling out of my hands like water. To be in one place , for one hour, the limit of my desires. And so I stand in the Great Wood and I watch.
Above a canopy of beech, birch and oak, the moon, almost as blue as the sky, disentangles itself from its dreams and prepares to step into our world.
Two cock pheasants, the birds escaping the sounds of the shoot someplace further on in the fields, scurry away, kicking up the rotting leaf carpet of the woodland floor. The leaves all shades of brown, unto which random feathers float down.
The longer I stand the more I smell the earth- suspire the subtle scents of life hidden in the Sandling ground, taste too, the intoxicating flavours of what will become spring - the first dreaming of violet and bluebell.
Higher up, the last of the rose hips. Shrivelling now, but holding enough red to light the flames of any tired heart. Beside these blessed beacons, the haw and black thorns of the hedgerow stand bear.
Their spiked branches like barbed wire, which in a way I suppose they are. This fierce defensive system nature’s way of saying there are some places you can not enter.
A charm of goldfinches - ringing out like church bells to announce a marriage from atop a silver birch. A song of joy and hope, a belief of a bright future in which the next thing we experience shimmers.
To find the true heart of the woods you have to go to a dark place. Enter it’s cave and find its womb. I leave the finches and edge past needles of thorns, step deeper. Then, just as I write these words in my notebook, a shadow glide of legs is glimpsed beneath the curtain of trees.
Two red deer pass through my world. At first I take them for people on another path, but these are not fawns- they are a silence of deer moving without sound through the veins of the woods, guarding its secret heart.
And that is all it takes. An hour in the woods and you can step right into the heart of everything you’ll ever need to keep you going.
Seen today: Rooks, Seagulls, Sparrows, Blackbirds, Great Tits, Hares, a Kestrel, Pheasants, a Robin, a charm of Goldfinches and two Deer.