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Opportunistic

Four Blackberries

Four Blackberries

We were just passing the railway crossing this morning when we were beset by a sudden shower of rain. We hurried on along the road that passes the rookery, hoping to find some shelter under the beech trees that border the road (don’t try this at home children – it is dangerous to shelter under trees in a storm). By the time we had reached a dry patch of road, the shower had passed on, but while we stood there we heard the tok, tok, tok  of a woodpecker in the trees above. Trying to pinpoint the source of the sound we caught a glimpse of a woodpecker sized bird in the branches not far away. The next part of the story will be familiar to anyone who has read any of our previous witterings. By the time we had the camera lens cover removed and the camera switched on –  the bird had flown. So, no picture of a woodpecker for you today, I’m afraid.

Moving on up the road, we thought we could make out the shape of a white horse in the field ahead. Well, a horse isn’t a woodpecker, but horses can be quite chatty, so we hoped a snapshot of the equine aspect of rural life might give us a discussion point for today’s epistle. When we reached the field gate, there was no sign of any livestock whatsoever. So no horse photograph either, I’m sorry.

On the way home we saw a bunch of blackberries gleaming in the sunlight. We loitered along and picked a half a pound or so.

I tried to convince The Dog that Jackie’s apple and blackberry crumble would be well worth the effort, but she remained unconvinced.

Discard

Beech Mast on the Road

Beech Mast on the Road

Today The Dog and I wandered up to the level crossing. Here I must tell you that the last three or four days have been unbearably hot and humid. I can remove a few of my customary layers of clothing but she is still wearing her full winter outfit. At the level crossing, with both of us approaching dehydration – or possibly even dessication, The Dog pointed out that by carrying on straight ahead, down the road past the rookery, we would be under the shade of the trees. Even though it meant increasing the distance between us and our final destination, the shade ahead was irresistible.

That part of the road is now strangely silent. The rooks have raised what youngsters they were able to protect from the depredations of the buzzards and moved out to forage over a wider area. There is still the occasional disconsolate mewing of a melancholy buzzard reminiscing over the time of plenty, but they too have extended their search area and are now finding that road kill is not as unappetising as they had thought earlier in the year.

The road under the Beech trees is covered with Beech mast. Some of them ground under the wheels of passing vehicles, but many just lying with the prickly husk partially open as if they had ripened and made a break for freedom. The nuts inside the cases proved to be totally undeveloped when we levered the case apart and bit the nuts open.

Far from making a break for freedom, I think that they’ve been specifically asked to leave.

The Forbidden Path

Gate in the Wall

Gate in the Wall

In those days, there was war. War between the unseen things of the Dark and Secret Place, the name of which, even now, is best remembered – but not spoken, and those who dwelt in The Light.

At this time, King Allwyngarth, a leader of men, called upon Daghtwaal the Doughty and Ancient, who was called The Double Headed Axe of the Dwarves, and he came unto him. Unto him also he called Locham Green Leaf who was Oldest Oak of the Fleet Folk. Gathered they three, in a tall tower and well guarded from all sides. There they spake, each one unto the others, of The Dark and Secret Place.

At an instant, came a crash and a flash, the door to the chamber was flung open and stood there, a stranger, where no man should gain entry.

“Wæs Hæil. Kings three. Rise and take just and awful war unto that Dark and Secret Place. Now is the time for deeds not for words. I, Zalwigg, have spoken!”

At this, they arose and went, taking pain and vengeance, to That Place and laid waste all about them. Also went Zalwigg and in his power brought terror to That Place.

Then, when all had seen justice, they went out and stood, all the hosts, once more before the gates to The Dark and Secret Place.

Spoke then Zalwigg at the first. “Wæs Hæil, Kings three! Now must The Gates of Doom be sealed. Never more may Dwarf pass through. ” Then spake he a word of power, such that all fell to their knees and up rose the earth and covered the chasm that gave access to That Place.

Now, spake he at the second. “Never more may the Fleet and Fair Folk pass this way.” Then spake he a word of power, such that all covered their ears in terror and arose up two mighty and tall Beech Trees and between them a barricade of moonbeams that Fair Folk durst not break.

And spake he then for thrice. “Never more may Men pass this way.” Then spake he a word of power, such that all covered their eyes in awe.

After, arose all and saw, where once had been The Evil Way, now was only a hill, two Beech trees and a stone wall. And peace came unto The Three Kingdoms.

Flowers of Compassion

Beech Flowers

Beech Flowers

While we’re on the subject of Beech (see previous post) I thought you might be interested in these. In the 1930s, Dr. Edward Bach gave up his promising medical practice in Harley Street, London and went off to the country. He was looking for a better way to make people well. He had been playing around with vaccines and that sort of thing, but to use the stuff of the disease to cure, just seemed plain wrong. It took him twenty years, but he eventually came up with his flower remedies, thirty six essences made from flowers, just about as close to nature as he could get.

When it came to people whose illness could be traced back to anxiety caused by intolerance and lack of compassion, people who perhaps, lived with the frustration of feeling that their whole world was made up of individuals who just didn’t get it – or even just would never get it, Dr Bach would prescribe an essence made from the flowers of the Beech tree.

Now Beech trees only start to flower once they come of age, and for Beech trees this means thirty years old. They only flower at the top of the tree or sometimes on the sunny side, if one side has a sunnier aspect. Beech trees pruned into hedges rarely flower.

I felt incredibly lucky to find these flowers on the Beech trees just up the road.

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