The blessings of the early autumn twilight fill my eyes and a gentle cooling breath sighs across my skin. It has been a while since I walked the dark depths of the Nottinghamshire woodlands in the quiet of night. In the latter days of summer many issues have sought to distract me and hold me from my wanders. Moonlight has been replaced by the glow of the computer screen and the electric light as I have made my way through planning documents, policies and statements as I have looked into the ways and reasoning of developers to lay claim to the diminishing green lands of the county. I have seen disregard for issues of wildlife and biodiversity. I have seen the District Council lend their support to ill considered proposals and statements of deception from a planning consultant intent on claiming reward from a game they play with land they do not care about. Standing beneath the clear night sky I listened to the lone hoots of a Tawny Owl calling across the still woodland clearing. I am reminded of why I make the effort to do what I can to try and get people to see sense and see what is of real value within these isles.
I place my mind away from the paperwork and into the snatched moments of my summer wanders. One country lane has provided particular inspiration amongst the warm summer breezes and clouds of insects. One evening brought a charge of hares, racing down the lane in play and rivalry they tore headlong towards me and the pack. For a few seconds we stood in amazement at the folly of their actions, my german shepherds leapt into a counter charge to meet the hares head on. It was almost to late for the hares as they realised their predicament, in an instant they scattered off the lane towards ditch, hedgerow and the uncut fields of wheat. Jaws snapped and claws scrabbled upon the worn tarmac, fortunately the hares made the narrowest of escapes. Another evening brought the whisper of wing beats from the barn owl, soaring from the hedge and passing close to me in the evening light. The owl swept up into the sturdy lower branches of an old roadside tree and settled for a moment. I stood still and looked up into the branches, a white face peered around the branch to return my gaze for a precious few seconds before taking to the air again and skimming across the wheat field to find a more remote vantage point to catch a glimpse of the small mammals hiding within the crops.
This is the sceptered isle and there are wonders to behold, but it saddens me to know that many have ceased to look and denied themselves the understanding of balance and nature. On my return to my hovel it only took a moment to gaze within the realm of modern media to flood the mind with tales of decapitated soap stars, the announcements of economy obsessed ministers willing to sacrifice everything they can to give false promises of kick starting a failing financial system and the constant flag waving and parading of sports people to try and give a feel good factor to a gullible modern world I can only think of as self obsessed and insane.
My stroll into the dark depths of the woodland brought me peace, but also a moment of sadness. A woodland area where I had once had the fortune to follow a Tawny Owl through a dense woodland trail had been cleared. All that remains are the memories and thoughts I have written down in the post Master of the May Wood. However at least the woodland will have chance to re grow and new life will breathe into the cleared area even if it takes many years.