I’ve walked a lot through the winter, but few words have formed in my mind. Its as though the procession of walks in gloom, biting, bright, sharp, dreary and damp have entered my being, too enveloping to separate myself and my thoughts. Perhaps this is something about winter, withdrawing inside the body, closing the curtains and drawing up to the fire within.
There is change in the air now, winter is loosening it’s grip and I can feel it in my body as much as I can see and hear signs of it in nature. The bird song is like a relief.
My thoughts are turning towards the next woodland retreat day, https://www.otherwaystowalk.co.uk/events/woodland-retreat-day-spring-half-price thinking about how we welcome the energy and vitality of spring into our lives – and unbidden my mind connects back to the last retreat in the dark,quiet heart of winter. We huddled around the fire, relished hot soup, and tea. How water bottles were filled for forays into the woods to sit and silently observe. Someone saw a wood mouse. The robin came into the shelter to steal cake. Someone made a precious collection and left it on a wall. We made drawings and chose our words to talk about them.
How will this compare to the next retreat, at the end of April. The trees will be revealing their most tender fresh green leaves, soft and quiet in the breeze. Will the birds be frenetic, driven by the seasons into a high energy marathon of staking territory, pairing, mating, nesting, breeding – emerging into summer, exhausted with worn feathers and tired bodies.
I walk with my sketchbook, thinking about how we will connect with and express this feeling of a woodland at full throttle. I think it calls for colour and a lightness of touch, watercolours and pastels, immediate and carefree. I’ll save nature printing for summer when the abundant leaves, flowers and grasses are not so soft and tender, and needle felting for autumn when we start turning back inward towards comfort and hibernation.