Early morning, lying awake listening to the low-swinging hoot of an owl give way to the bright chatter of the dawn chorus. I am thinking about yesterday, scrambling off-piste with the hounds:
Twice, a brown & cream feathered Slovenian Ural Owl leads me farther into the forest. I choose to be present when hiking like this, no automatic walking along pre-trodden routes. Note: a misshapen boulder here; an uprooted pine tree there – the bones of its roots clawing at the sky; another change of direction, another marker needed, I memorise a white rock hollow, a pattern of purple deadnettle, a horseshoe of beech trees with acid green spring leaves. At a clearing I pause, I cannot confidently go farther off track without getting lost on the return. Coaxing a tiny fire into life, I sit with the earth & give thanks. As the fire smoulders in its stone circle, I ask for three things: truth, guidance, strength. I knit fire magic into a pair of socks for a friend in hospital so that her feet will stay toasty as she convalesces. The sun is risen but the day is cool. Drinking coffee from an old flask, I tune into the dip-beat of the cuckoo, the low burr of the deer; a froth of finches takes up residence in my heart.