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 single...lol! 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.
You can view all of these photographs and more at my photosite