Saturday, 11 October 2008

A journey to Ethereal

It has been so long since I actually sat down and spent some time writing a post about my wanders. Mainly due to the bad weather we have had here in England this year (rain, rain and more rain), but also because I have been crazy busy, feeling the blues and frustratingly! However, I have decided to do just that this weekend.

I’m going to have to turn the clocks back a couple of weeks. The Saturday was very foggy in the morning, but the sun managed to break through around 11am. I checked the weather forecast and it looked like Sunday was going to be the same. So I dusted off my camera, recharged the batteries, brushed off my boots and set my alarm for an unearthly hour.

Sunday morning soon arrived; I was sound asleep when the alarm began to reverberate around the room. I reached out from under my lovely warm duvet, switched it off and curled into a ball to savour five more precious minutes in the warmth and comfort of my bed. Eventually, I pulled off the duvet and ran into the bathroom to grab a hot shower. Still almost asleep, I climbed into my trousers, pull on my hiking socks and shirt, supped a cup of tea and munched my way through a slice of toast & marmalade.

Peering out of the window revealed a solid wall of fog. Perfect!!! I grabbed my camera and made my way to my car, switched on the ignition and was on my way.

Within fifteen minutes, I was climbing out of my car in Savernake Forest and taking that first really deep breath of crisp fresh air. The darkness was starting to lift and I set off on my hike. The further I wandered into the undergrowth the clearer the visibility became.

There is something so beautiful, so emotional, so intoxicating about being on your own in the middle of a misty forest in the early hours of the morning…

Everywhere I turned revealed the most inspiring views, every breath I took filled my lungs with the most exhilarating freshness. I always find that when you wander through a forest during the day you can hear the birds sing. However, when you wander during the earliest hours of the day, the noises are so different. The scurrying of the animals, the creeks of the branches, the rustling of the leaves are much more distinct. Knowing that there was nobody for miles around, just the wildlife and me, filled me with excitement, a true sense of well being and a total feeling humbleness.

I walked further and further into the depths of the forest, taking a muddy track here, a turning there, sometimes just wandering through the undergrowth. Occasionally I would stumble across a scene that would stop me in mid step. I have wandered through Savernake Forest thousands of times during my life, but never ever ever have I experienced it looking as mystical as I did on that misty morning.

After about an hour of weaving my way through the bracken, I began to realise that I was being followed. The shivers began to run down my spine, and my breathing became more erratic. I tried walking faster, but the noise in the undergrowth simply followed at the same pace. I stopped, and the rustling stopped. I took a few more steps and there it was again, the same rustling in the undergrowth. I turned and still I could see nothing…….

…. This continued for several minutes, until I turned and looked over my shoulder and my follower finally revealed herself. She was a small muntjac deer. Her nose twitched and she leapt back into the undergrowth. My breathing slowed down, but the excitement and awe grew bigger. Our little game of follow the leader continued for about twenty minutes. Each time I turned, she would stand there and we would look at each other, both with equal curiosity and respect, before she would leap back into the undergrowth again. At first I tried to grab my camera to capture a photograph of her, but I soon realised that this wasn’t meant to be. We reached a point where she would follow me no further; perhaps it was the boundary of her territory. I stopped and turned one more time, she stood there and we shared a final trusting glance, holding on to this rare encounter knowing that it was soon to finish. Finally she turned, leapt into the bushes and cantered off into the distance. Each step I took from that point on was a step with an enormous bounce. I was walking in the clouds of joy! Never in my life had I experienced such an encounter. Never in my life had I ever felt so close with the things around me…..

The sun was beginning to rise through the canopy of the trees casting beams of gold through to the track below. Occasionally, I would just sit on a tree stump and just savour the scenes around me. Closing my eyes, so I could listen to every single rustle and crack; breathing slower and deeper to absorb every aroma. Wishing that time would come to a halt, so that the moment would never end.

Soon midday came and it was time to head back to my car. The journey came to its end, but the memories of that morning will never fade. …….

I hope you enjoyed another walk with me through the magical and mystical Savernake Forest in the lovely county of Wiltshire in England.

Warmest wishes

Graham x

You can view all of these photographs and more at my photosite


Mimi Lenox said...

These are absolutely breathtaking. I felt such a peaceful presence through your photographs. Awesome....
Thank you so much sharing them with us.

Kelly Ann said...

#'S 4 and 7 are taking me places Graham, I enjoy the serenity you've captured. :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Graham!!! These pictures are the best you´ve ever posted! they´re brilliant! full of life and energy :D just like you.
Everytime I see you´ve commented on my blog, I wonder what you´ve written, your words are always so kind and incredibly understanding. I thank you with all my heart :D

Anonymous said...

Oh Graham, I am moved to tears. I had hoped you would share this story on your blog. I cannot believe your soul, it is so beautiful and is expressed more than ever through these astounding photos and beautiful words.

Your heart is so alive. I'm so so so glad that you rose early and went into the woods. Like me, you find yourself there. And Life is amazing; like you said the wild things are very curious, especially when they KNOW they are around a gentle soul. I could feel your happy, joyous, bursting heart after seeing the deer. I am so glad you are alive enough to respond SOOOOOOOO openly and joyously.

What's so sad is that many wild creatures actually want to make contact, but we humans (as a collective) can be so crass and cruel. We don't see them as intelligent curious beings who can absolutely change, enrich and heal our lives. They can help us find ourselves again. The deepest part of ourselves, the gentle and humane part of ourselves.

This is one of the most beautiful things I've read and seen in a long time. You are truly a very gifted soul with a beautiful gentle spirit. You move through the world with an open and kind heart.

Like ANTO said:

"Everytime I see you´ve commented on my blog, I wonder what you´ve written, your words are always so kind and incredibly understanding. I thank you with all my heart."

I feel EXACTLY the same, Graham. I cherish your comments SO much. You can just feel your genuineness. Like I said, I am moved to tears. Thank from my heart for being such beauty and sharing such beauty. It means more than you know.

A huge hug my dear dear friend.
Robin xx

PS I am so proud of you. Never let anyone dampen your spirit. You shine like this forest.

AZZITIZZ said...

That's all, just WOW!


Michelle Hix said...


I left you a comment last night but it never showed up. I must have done something wrong.

I think you live in the most romantic place in the world. My nose and ears are jealous of my eyes when I look at the photos you take. I hope that someday you will take a video camera along with you for sound effects. I think if I lived there I would get up early, put coffee in a thermos and just sit and write stories.

Janette said...

This was so beautifully written, I felt like I was walking with you. With such a romantic view on the world, I'm sure you won't be 'frustratingly single' for much longer!

no more said...

This is like the land that time forgot. But i have to ask - are you the only one walking in those woods? I simply can't believe with that beautiful scenery there wouldn't be a whole bunch of people out there taking it in.


Michelle Hix said...

I hope you don't mind...I was inspired to write a series of haikus to go along with your photos. I have them numbered as to which picture inspired which haiku. As you probably already know, a haiku is a form of Japanese poetry, nature inspired and written in 3 lines of 5,7, and 5 syllables. Hope you enjoy! I will post a link to your blog when I post the haikus on my site but here they are for you! Thanks for the inspiration my dear.

She sings good morning
Raising her voice through the trees
Songs for the forest

Walking down a path
But her beauty holds me still
She begs me to stay

Old, tired and barren
Genesis of the forest
Her children are near

I lay at her feet
She’s the essence of my soul
I drink of her shade

Memories Of Mine said...

These are so beautiful, they look like paintings. This is what makes struggling out of bed and the unearthly hours all worth while. A good breakfast of toast spread with marmalade and a cup of tea and you mind is in sync with your surrounds and your fingers are ready to click the most perfect shots.

I think I have fallen in love with the Savernake Forest

Wayfaring Wanderer said...

This post really makes me wish that you would blog more! Beautifully captured and described. I recognize that tree in the fourth photo from your rainy day hike video. I love that gnarly tree!

Thanks for sharing.

wanderingbtrfly said...

That was beautiful! I needed that walk... Your photographs are lovely; I've added a morning walk through the Savernake Forest to my places I must visit.

Thanks for sharing, Graham! You should definitely share this more often.

Anonymous said...

It is magical indeed! I almost spotted am elf and a fairy in there! :D

I'd visit England again just to take this kind of pictures, it's pretty unique!

By the way, I have never asked you, what camera do you use?

Anonymous said...

Brilliant & Stunning as always...

Elizabeth Halt said...

Oh - that looks so gorgeous and peaceful. The perfect place for a fairy-tale story. Now I wish I had gotten to Wiltshire during my time in England.

simply organized 4 life said...

Well, everyone just responded to your post with every emotion expressed, and I fear there are none left for me to reveal. You are fortunate to live in such a gorgeous place and have the opportunity to soak up nature's beauty and harmony. Tis the mornin' light that shines most beautiful, and I'll always believe that to be true.

Love and hugs,
Kimberly of Kimberly's Kreations

Anonymous said...

Beautiful photos and a well written article. It made me feel as if I were there. Thank you for sharing and helping me have a relaxing day. Keep up the good work!

Unknown said...

Mimi, thank you so much for your kind words and thank you for stopping by. I wish you luck in your strive for world peace. I am definitely going to be posting my own peace badge soon!

Chica, thank you loads!!! I am really glad that you like them :)

Anto, you have a really big heart. Your words are so kind, thank you! I am pleased that you enjoyed seeing the forest photos.

Robin, I am so touched by the generosity in your words. They mean so much to me! I really can't thank you enough for everything. I'll catch up with you soon!

Azzy, thank you my friend!!!

Unknown said...

Michelle, the forest is a special place... my imagination runs wild as I wander through the undergowth, gazing up through the canopy of the trees. It is truly the most wonderful place on earth!

Janet,I do hope I am not 'frustratingly single' for too much longer. Thank you for kind comment, and I hope you enjoyed wandering along with me through the post!

Muse, thanks my friend! I usually take a random route that goes way off the normal path. I occasionally pass a person or two walking their dog on the main route, but being way off in the depths of the forest, I rarely bump into anybody. Also, most sensible humans are still tucked up in bed when I am up to my neck in mud and!

Unknown said...

Michelle, your words are so beautiful. I love how you have so perfectly interpreted the feeling of the photographs. I really love them all, but the haiku with #7 really touches me!

Liss, cheers pal! I am glad you liked them! It is so easy to fall in love with Savernake Forest. And if ever you make your way over here, I'll be sure to show you around it!

Jessica, I really really appreciate your comment. Sometimes I struggle with inspiration to blog, but comments like yours really give my heart a boost! Thank you again!!!

Unknown said...

Wanderingbtrfly, please let me know if you do get to Savernake Forest... I'll pop over and say hello!!! Thank you for your kind comment :)

Hey Zhu :) :) :) I use a canon 450D (I think it is called a Rebel Xsi in the US) and I also have a Canon G9. The photos on this post are from the Canon 450D. Thanks for your kind comment. I am sure that there are pixies and elves in the forest, and I am sure they watch me each time I wander by.

Meleah, Thank Youuuu!!!!!!!!! :D

Elizabeth, you should have come to! I hope you put it on your list for next time ;)

Kimberly, thank you :))) When I have mornings like this one, I really do realise how fortunate I am. I want to make sure I can share the experience with as many people as I can.

Debt Guru, thank you so much!!!

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Unknown said...

I have only ever driven past this forest on the way to meetings. I didn't ever realise how magical it was.........fairies could live there!! :-D

Anonymous said...

I forgot to ask you...of all these tree/woodland photos here, which one is your favorite??

So beautiful, like Chrissy said, I think there might be fairies here?
:) :)

Such talent and heart you have.
Sending big hugs,
Robin xx

Jane Bregazzi said...

Hi Graham,

I really enjoyed your blog and your sentiments.

I'll keep up with it.

hkjhjkhv said...

great photos

Michelle said...

Pure magic! :-)

Genie said...

Thanks for adding me to your "Blogs I follow" list! I came by to see you and, whoa, I'm going to have to save reviewing your blog for when I have a large chunk of time and a mug of coffee! There's too much to see at a quick glance! Luscious is the word that comes to mind, perhaps because your blog just seems so rich with images and information.

I look forward to keeping up with you from now on!

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Anonymous said...

I think you have all been eating some mushrooms from the forest floor!! I'm off to Savernake again next week so I'll keep my eyes peeled for fairies and suspicious looking muntjac! Lovely pictures by the way.

Graham's Photobook....Through The Eyes Of A Dreamer

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