A Walk in the Woods

A mouse took a walk in the deep dark wood…

Actually, it was a whole family out searching for the Butterdean Wood geocache, but two keen little children found the idea that a Gruffalo might be lurking among the trees pretty exciting. Martin, clever bunny, proposed a caching expedition to get us out in the beautiful (if chilly) sunshine, and this was a good cache to look for. It was about half an hour’s drive from home, taking us over flat paths that were just wild enough to seem adventurous. They were also perhaps a little muddy.

I brought my phone camera, of course, and stopped from time to time to take pictures.

Fungus on a fallen log.

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Taken 4 February 2006

Alex took the GPS and went ahead, following the arrow and talking of treasure. Playing Zelda has sharpened his taste for quests and adventures. He waited patiently whenever I would stop to take a shot.

The twisted stem of some vine – I don’t know what kind. (This picture has been cropped.)

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Taken 4 February 2006

Two leaves on a twisting vine.

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Taken 4 February 2006

Fiona strode along the path, first with one parent, then with the other. At two, she is rock-steady on her feet and entirely unafraid of any mystery the woods might hold. She has been a strong walker for some time, and I think she enjoyed the challenge. When we were walking together and I would step aside to take a picture, she would venture onward without a backward glance.

Fir cone among the leaves.

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Taken 4 February 2006

Eventually, Alex relinquished the GPS in favour of a stick sword, and Fionaberry took over as navigator. (We pretty much followed the path.) She thought my eTrex was a camera, and every now and then would stop, hold it to her face, bend very close to the ground, and say, “I take a picture. Cheese!” before going on. Not a landscape photographer, I guess…

Tangle of sticks, a pattern shot.

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Taken 4 February 2006

Lichen on a branch. It’s almost blue!

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Taken 4 February 2006

Alex was soon wrapped up in Zelda-esque adventures, which reminded me vividly of my own childhood games. The forest around our cabin was always Lothlorien and Mirkwood, Stephen R Donaldson’s The Land and Sherwood Forest. For him, East Lothian became Link’s country, and he crept and ran through it like the hero of his favourite Game Boy game. I’m happy that our mostly urban life has opportunities for that kind of imaginative play.

He has not yet developed the love of the woods and trees for their own sake that I have. But I learned that a bit older than four. Maybe one day he’ll see it.

The pattern of decay on the limb of a fallen tree reveals so much of its underlying structure.

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Taken 4 February 2006

Concentric rings on tree bark. I don’t know why this occurs.

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Taken 4 February 2006

Alex used his stick to open “gates”, mostly by keying his name into the trees. This one, in particular, required a number of passwords to be entered. We touched certain parts of the branches and said certain letters, spelling out our names to pass onward along the path.

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Taken 4 February 2006

By the time we found the cache, a good half mile from the car park, the kids were running out of adventurous spirit. They weren’t crabby, or unhappy, or even tired, but they were more focused on getting the “treasure” than on telling themselves (and us) stories on the way.

We found the box easily enough – it’s both well hidden from the casual passer by and easy to find if you know where to look – and there were toys enough for both of them. Alex chose a deck of cards, and Fiona took a mini pencil set. I left some stone animals and an amethyst in trade, and we turned back to the car.

Although she wanted to be carried early on for the return journey, Fiona soon regained her energy and did a good deal of walking on the way back to the car. We covered over a mile as a family, and she managed about two thirds of that. Alex walked the whole distance, and wasn’t worn out at the end.

We left the wood as the sun began to head for the horizon.

Late sunshine on brown leaves. The shot looks warmer than it was!

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Taken 4 February 2006

3 thoughts on “A Walk in the Woods”

  1. Yes, but I don’t do panoramic photography. I try from time to time, but it doesn’t sing for me. I guess I’m just a macro shot person!

    Glad you like the pictures.

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