It's a grey winter, the ground sodden after weeks of rain. Dips and ruts are full of muddy water. We splash and slither along the trails. It feels as if winter has been here for a long time.
The woods are mysterious as ever. In mist or occasional low rays of sun, woodland delights. One afternoon rare sun shone straight down the trail back to the barn, silhouetting Brena and I along the grassy ribbon.
Deer flit about in furtive herds of a few dozen. This is their land, not mine. I am the traveller passing through, here one moment, gone the next.
Woods exert a peculiar and complex role upon the English psyche. The trees provide building materials and firewood, of course, and food for some. They provide a hiding place for the outlaw, and a refuge for the disposed: think of Robin Hood. As a haven for the lawless, woods threaten the traveller. At least we don't have wolves or bears to provide further danger. But woods provide employment for the craftsman and labourer too. And, for the sportsman, woods mean game. Myths spring from woods, enhancing their mystery. Elves, after all, are unworldly: neither entirely good, nor bad, and not behaving quite as humans do. Mystics and ascetics lingered in woods, perceiving beyond the purely material.
I saw neither Elf nor outlaw, but I relaxed in the woods, appreciating the tranquillity. Here's a place away from machines, largely away from people too. A spot where imagination can take over. A trail where one may become engulfed in privacy. Somewhere to dream of a different ending, at a quiet cottage or a camp, with no-one or anyone.