Posted by: Ross Gardner | July 18, 2013

Small but perfectly formed

There is a very small wood beside a very busy road.  It is though, a wood that defies its acres (as indeed many do) and possesses the ability to make light of its immediate surroundings.  The road rumbles unceasingly past, but inside the wood it soon becomes background noise, at times to the point of not noticing it; there is always noise, but not such that will drown out the silences that always persist within an old wood.

And it is quiet, beneath swaddling heat of a sunny July day.  I must sit and wait before I see any signs of animal life larger than the tiny flying things that glance the scant beams of light that break the canopy of oak and sweet chestnut.  A male balckbird rustles that leaf-litter beneath the denser shade of a holly.  He scolds me briefly at my pesisting presence as he flies past to flit among the branches a short way down the slope.  A few Speckled Wood have staked a claim to their patches of broken light, dividing time between sunbathing and spiralling towards the treetops on patrolling flights.  It is quiet in the wood but never still.

Rutpela maculata - a common longhorn beetle.   Copyright 2010 Ross Gardner

Rutpela maculata – a common longhorn beetle. Copyright 2010 Ross Gardner

Where the sun blazes onto the south-facing woodland edge it is so different.  Masses of bramble blossom twitch with copious movement; of bumblebees and hoverflies; of nectaring butterflies – Large Skipper and Meadow Brown; of longhorn beetle (Rutpela maculata) carried with a slow, drifting flight as if the heat of the day rests especially heavily on them.

The proper summer weather finally arrives in earnest and is encapsulated within the confines of this littles wood.  Few in their cars would likely be aware.  More, I hope, would look in as they pass and wonder.

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