Wednesday, 2 November 2005

Five months and one day

Blimey! Someone asked me how long I have been living in the woods for just now. Five months and 1 night, my life before this seems a dim and distant memory but at the same time it does not seem as though I have been doing it for very long. I guess the reason for this is that the environment in which I am living is constantly changing so just as soon as I learn how to get by the weather changes again and I’m facing a whole new bunch of challenges. It’s probably the fact that I never quite manage to get on top of things that makes it feel as though I have only just set out on this mission.

It is the constantly changing nature of the woods and the countryside at large that was the main reason for my deciding to live out for a year. After all if I’m living in amongst the natural cycle of the countryside for an entire year then I end up gaining a much clearer understanding of the way everything holds together. Sure most of the conclusions I now have reached are based purely on subjective thought rather than any kind of scientific study but, frankly, this does not bother me. I am really getting a lot out of getting a proper feel for the woods rather than reducing the experience to a bunch of figures plotted on a graph.

This is not to say that life is a bed of roses, well it is but I’m lying in the thorny bit right now. I woke this morning to a headache, blocked sinuses, aching muscles, stomach cramps, sickness and a complete and utter lack of energy. I had put the gore tex sheet up above me as usual last night to keep the rain from falling on me. The rain had obviously got used to this trick and decided to come in sideways rather than straight down last night. This meant that I awoke to discover everything was wet and covered in slimey dead leaves. Sure I have waterproofed all (most of (some)) of my possessions so there was no great worry about my stuff getting wet. It was a little tiring to wake up feeling rotten only to have to pick through all my wet things in order to get my life in order. I was soon covered in water and a thin layer of grime as I rolled up by bivi bag with sleeping bag still in it and prepared for the journey to work. All around me where dead and dying leaves against a grey sky laden with rain. It reflected my mood perfectly. ‘What kind of idiot decides to live in the woods for a year without even a tent’ I thought, and started laughing. It was still a bit of an effort walking to the bus as I was feeling sapped of energy and I was swinging between being too hot and too cold but now I was in a good mood again.

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