Walk with me, across the airfield and into the boggy places. The hedges are lined with tangles of brambles. The day is grey, calm, quiet, the land golden.
I decide to see if I can walk a walk I only usually do in summer. As you walk with me the reason will become clear. But I love it, have new wellies, and the dogs so love all its different stages. So, we head across the stepping stones to the boggiest place on earth.
Pi soon takes a detour. I can’t see where she is but can hear a curious noise of a spaniel in a bog. Now and again her progress is marked by the rise of snipe into the sky, and a bogdog shape, leaping above the gold.
She moves so fast, does Pi, from one of the a walk to the other, nose down, tail up, never really looking with her eyes where she goes, only with her nose.
There’s willow here, scrub, crack willow with pillows of emerald and lichens.
Urban architecture intrudes, but I love these posts that stride across the land. A grey heron rises from the pond, a strip of reflected sky. It slow flaps its heavy winged way across the golden land. There are buzzards too, raven, something small, calling, calling, pheasant, snipe and plovers, sparrows, house and hedge, and more. A wren flew up from almost under my feet.
Celandines are beginning to bring their yellow faces out to greet the coming of spring.
Having made it through the worst of the mud ( I think) we get to a place where five tracks meet. Someone has been cutting the reeds here. I wonder what for?
Once this place was the dump, and the winter brings the detritus of years to the surface. There are bottles and jars, not much plastic.
And this is the tree that in autumn has apples, bright, sweet, beautiful, and fieldfare and redwing, feasting.
And I make it through more deep mud, hanging on to branches, stepping onto tussocks, until the path becomes….
Oh. And the dogs wade through, and Pi goes duck hunting, and I try to work out how deep the dogs have gone, and I give it a go, but no. When it gets to an inch below the top of my wellies I turn back. Too deep. Back the way we came.
And it’s not surprising, given the trip wires laid by brambles that at some point I trip and fall to my knees in the mud. On dear. Ah well, wet now and cold around the muddiest knees, and onward.
and here, again….. FROGSPAWN!!!!!!!!! So much, so very much and I missed it first time because this time I have been tump hopping my way over the boggy mire and pool. I do love frogspawn, the promise of frogs.
By now I am so muddy, I’ve torn my dress on a barbed wire fence, I have twigs and brambles in my hair. I am 56 years old, covered in mud, looking like I have been dragged through a hedge, backwards ( because I have!) I have no dignity, but I am smiling wide enough because I’ve seen frogspawn for the second time in a week. And anyway, I quite like mud.
So, home, and both dogs have been in the bath. Pi loves it. Ivy thinks she can manage well without a bath, thank you. My wellies seem to have created a vacuum, and were almost impossible to remove, but my feet are now cosy in sheepskin boots. And it’s time to work.
So thank you for joining me. I’m off to lose myself in the branches of a willow tree.