Seeing the wood and the Trees

I have been out of sorts recently. A sinus infection has gripped me by the temples and, yet again, blown my eardrum. Nothing terribly painful, but hard to sleep and low level headaches and a general, weary ‘not rightness’. So in Pollyanna style I shall write not of my angry bear reaction to all domestic irritants but rather of the things that have cheered me up in the hope that they will also soothe any other angry bears with deaf ears out there.

The trees in the garden and the Hirsel trails have just been getting more and more beautiful as the days pass. We’ve largely moved through yellow, though the larch remain stunningly bright, and into a deep amber. Red leaves are fewer this year (I think that may be due to the damp patch) and therefore the few scarlet notes sing out like a solo chorister. This year, for the first time, I have found shocking pink spindles on some older spindle trees on the back lawn. I am wondering if this is a response to the border planting out there and therefore the increased pollinator activity.

We remain Mushroom Central. I think my habit of mulching with shredded tree prunings is exacerbating the trend and we have all sorts sprouting. I was particularly taken with the mauve fellows at the beginning of the back track. Dr G. Oogle suggests we have Ballerina Waxcaps or possibly Wood Blewitts, which is lovely but I was rather hoping it was the gloriously named “Purple Deceiver”. In researching this I think I have also identified some interesting yellow ‘shrooms in the Hirsel woods as Larch, or possibly Birch Boletes. Some of the others are worryingly similar to death caps so there will be no foraging suppers for us!!

To Lyra’s disappointment, the average squirrel count per walk is diminishing rapidly. She watches the leaves fall intently, suspecting a “squiggle” of throwing them down, but can’t find the beggar. A few days ago though we had a wonderful surprise in the woods. Two large deer just emanated from the trees a few feet in front of us, gave us a speaking look, then melted away. Completely startled Lyra forgot to pull at the lead and I forgot my camera. I spent the rest of the walk trying to remember this bit of poem by Norman MacCaig, learned at school.

In the earliest light of a long day
Three stags stepped out of the birch wood
At Achmelvich Bridge
To graze on the sweet grass
By the burn
A gentle apparition

I would give you the rest but the book is on the top shelf of the new library shelves and the ladder has yet to be sourced….I also suspect I have quoted the same line, at the same time of year, in another post – but maybe that’s OK and quite in keeping with the poem which is about remembering moments of joy.

OK I’d better stop before you are shaking your head and thinking I’ve gone all soppy. Time to walk the hound….

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