Friday, 16 June 2006

A walk in the country

I saw the first ladybird of the year the other day; a bright red Tonka truck beastie making it's way through the jungle of short grass at an amazing speed with it's little legs piston-ing twenty to the dozen from out of the sides of it's armored shell. Zooming it was, positively zooming along taking all obstacles at maximum speed like one of the minis in the Italian Job (the original of course not the dodgy remake). Five black spots on it's back and three white on it's face but where was it going? What can one patch of grass offer that another can't? Up one blade of grass, down the underside, this jaggedy landscape of the ladybird is like something from a Tim Burton film, our rules just don't apply, across a thistle, rolling with the flow, across down up round. The most curious thing was that whatever obstacle presented itself the lil critter would take it at full pelt and never deviate from it's overall direction, just a little to the left of the sun was where she would end up given enough time, nothing could stop it. Until that is it got to my shoelace then there was a one hundred and eighty degree turn a run up to the top of the nearest seed baring grass stem (those being the longest), spotty wing casing opened there was a brief blur of wings and it was up and away on the wind, a rapidly disappearing red dot in the air. I know my trainers are old and that I should really get some new ones but that is just rude.

Feeling a little disgruntled I continued my walk and almost immediately was distracted by two butterflies with electric blue wings dancing briefly together in the wind before one landed on a flower to my left. Opening it's wings in the sunlight briefly revealed them to be edged with almost luminescent blue before it fluttered off again as a result of my shadow falling across it. Out of the heat of the sun and into the cool of the woods it was three fat bubble bees buzzing busily in the undergrowth that caught my eye. Being on holiday I had time to stop and watch them for a while and I was rather glad I did as the flowers that attracted them were the flowers of a reasonably sized wild raspberry plant. I will be keeping an eye on that patch. All around the woods and hedgerows are full of the promise of nature's bounty to come, raspberries, strawberries, sloes, blackberries, hazelnuts, damsons, beech nuts, all this to come.
Walking on a little I must have disturbed a deer as there was a flash in the distance and the sound of something large crashing off through the undergrowth. Overhead a squirrel leaps gracefully from branch to branch, and away. Here there are dog rose pastel pink with butter yellow pollen hanging thickly in the middle, over there the flowers draped across the lower branches of a yew tree are white. Next a few meters beside the path is heavy with pink campion and goose-grass then the wide open leaves of a burdock which is appropriately enough bordered by some dandelions. Then buttercups, saplings, various grasses locked into a struggle for survival as they race for the light. Bellow them all last years fallen leaves and dead stems slowly decomposing bringing life to the future generations of plants that rise to take their place in the never ending cycle of nature. This is life in the woods, the fragile balance of life, death and rebirth; autumn follows summer follows spring follows winter and so it goes on. This is were the money that you donate to the Woodland Trust by sponsoring me goes . So far £4,400 has been donated and that's about four and a half acres of woodland that the Trust can now protect. Four and a half acres is quite a lot, but if you think about it in terms of the size of this country and also consider the fact that once upon a time the whole place was wild it is not a huge amount. If you consider also the amount of harm that each and everyone of us does to the planet through our waste materials, use of natural resources and polluting journeys then you might well be tempted to give a little back to try to offset this harm. If you are so minded might I ask you to give a little to the Woodland Trust to protect the environment we have on our own doorsteps.

You can do so either by sponsoring me by clicking here

or go directly to the Woodland Trust by clicking here.

1 comment:

lucy parker said...


I've just read about what your doing. It really sounds so exciting. I am an artist currently studying at Goldsmiths in london. My work looks at ways in which humans enter natural environments and how these experiences are effected by modern high tech influences. For example I recently made a film set in a woodland and playing with mythology and fantasy that is related to a woodland setting. I used special effects and worked with camera angles to try to create a kind of narrative through the visuals. I think that one of my main concerns is modernisms failure, I am writing my dissertation on artists who are turning away from digital media. This is why your story is so interesting to me, it seems as though you have a very strong desire for something perhaps primal, but I wonder how this works when you have experienced a modern western lifestyle?

I presume that you don't want people to know where you are living to avoid being bombarded. But I would really like to meet you and make a piece of work about your experiences. I understand that what you are doing is for charity and I will happily donate money to the woodland trust.

Really looking forward to hearing from you,

Best Wishes
Lucy Parker