In August Moon, let me follow you In August Moon, let me follow you dawn
August Moon by 69 eyes
I arrived at Kilburn woods a little after 10pm. As we left the car and started walking into the wood, Hiro, excitedly trotting ahead. I was hit by a wall of silence.
As we continued into this familiar wood, this wood I have walked many times, that I have spent the night in, and yet tonight I wis filled with unfamiliarity. The sound of my footsteps on the stony path was the only noise that broke this deafening silence. I had lit my new headlamp and swept my head from left to right to seek out reflective eyes deep in the trees. I stopped at times and listened, somewhere far away there was the ever so quiet hum that I suspect was a car.
The contrast of day and night was made abundantly clear by the incredible lack of sound tonight. I recalled a visit earlier this week with children, the birds called and sang throughout, a previous visit where I camped overnight allowed me to witness the start of a day in the wood, from the call of a single bird, triggering an incredible dawn chorus. Such a difference tonight, as I became aware of how alone I felt. As I walked deeper, it felt like the silence and the darkness closed in on me. Slight fear rose in me, of some strange animal or a crazed stranger living in the woods.
I turned off the headlight, my courage returned and continued to walk, Hiro a ways behind me, then running off in front, panting ferociously. As I stared up, the height of the incredible pines impressed me more as they appeared like dark stakes towering above me. I wondered what badgers, what deer watched me, hidden in the thick wood to my left and right as I traipsed along this white scar that has sliced down the middle of the wood.
Cursing myself for not bringing my Kelly Kettle, a lovely freshly made tea in this otherworld environment would have been a nice way to relax on this warm evening. The wood closed in on me further I we walked deeper, the shadowed tees against the not quite night which gave a dull sense of light that continued to provide outline and silhouette which helped me to stay on the pather. At the other end of this woodland walk when you exit, you are greeted by one of the beautiful Sutton Bank and if I continued for another hour, I would arrive at the white horse.
Instead, I pause, whilst Hiro, drooling grossly due to his over excitement at being allowed to roam the wood. I pause at a celebratory tree planted last year to parks 100 years of the woods forest management. Kilburn woods has been overlooking the village of Kilburn village since the 1850s, and walking back through I was drawn by how much colour is drained from the wood at night. All plants, giant firs, have a shade of grey, and each of those subtle shades adds depth and dimension to the overall effect.
It was while walking back along the path, where shapes and shadows gave rise to imagination and possibility. The magic of the wood, the overall eeriness and mystery as we walked back over our tracks, demons here, spectres there, soon spooked away by Hiro’s enthusiasm. This noticeable difference astounded me, that within a few short hours, the adventure that awaits in a daytime visit, becomes a noir act, walking through a monochrome world of grey and muted green.
And although this wasnt the most amazingly revealing walk. It revealed a little about me to myself, follwed by a call, a screech that stopped hiro in his tracks. A tawny owl nearby out hunting, a wishing me well on my journey home. A part of me wanted to just carry on walking for a few more hours, or nestle down and let myself drift off.
And although this walk was silent, and bleak as it was shrouded by things not seen as opposed to the things we take for granted when we are out in the day. I was in awe by how self aware I became as I felt my heart quicken in the dark as nervous energy to hold. I realised, as distraction go away and my environment is reduced socially and verbally, my other senses heighten. This is a gift for me, and a hope that we can all stay well and keep safe.