Dark behind it rose the forest

An Autumn morning and surprisingly mild. There is an eerie silence as I walk along the narrow road lined with sycamore, beech and hazel trees. They stand motionless, as if in mourning. An occasional leaf floats down to join the carpet of yellow, orange, green and brown leaves. I am tempted to kick my way through them as I did as a child but I don't want to disturb the peace and tranquillity that nature is enjoying. It seems even the birds are asleep.

A fine drizzle hangs in the air as I pass a row of old stone cottages on my way down the hill. Luscious, red berries adorn the cotoneaster clambering up their walls and huge plumes of Pampas grass and spikes of Mahonia add a touch of drama. Despite the warmth of the day smoke drifts from one of the chimneys offering a sweet, welcoming smell of burning wood.

At the bottom of the incline I lean against the wooden five bar gate at the entrance to the field. A mist hugs the valley like a mysterious blanket, furtive, intriguing and dark behind it rises the forest. Yesterday its dense palette of colours was illuminated into a glorious sight of burnished gold and fire flamed red - but not today.

As I continue my walk past the horse chestnut trees which border the footpath tracking the dry stone wall, pristine, white- faced sheep are munching contentedly in the field beyond. They appear to be oblivious of my presence. On the horizon telegraph poles disappear into the murkiness.

A fallen tree provides a perfect resting place and I am grateful for the thermos of coffee that I have brought with me. I drink slowly, deep in thought. I check my watch and in the distance, the church clock strikes the hour - 11am. Perhaps I should have been at the Service but I prefer to come here. It is so quiet, as though the natural world is observing the two minute silence with me.

As I look to the sky a faint image of the sun appears through a veil of grey cloud. I can feel a gentle breeze and hear the rustle of leaves as they start to fall at an ever increasing rate- on and on and on. Birdsong has returned to the canopy above me and an aeroplane flies overhead. The world has held its breath and is now moving on.

My moment of remembrance is over. It's time to go home.

© Beth Bath 2021

Beth Bath