There is a point in early spring when it feels like the woods are making space. In only a week, even the crisp bracken – rampant and unrelenting only days ago – has shrunk back, reluctantly. Everything feels clearer.
It helps that the early spring breeze still carries a slight chill. You can’t help but feel briskly refreshed as you walk through the Larchwood towards The Avenue where, if there is a slightest breath of wind from any direction, it will feel like there is a gale rushing across the open field from the south-west. Always from the south-west.
But, by the time you make it to the Greenwood, the wind becomes a memory. The background hum of the world fades a little, and the trees begin to absorb you.
As often as not, we leave the paths now, led by an insistent and curious toddler. And, even when she is sticking to the paths, her disregard for all things structured encourages us to diverge, noticing new features that were mere feet away from us all this time.
Two thirds of the way round the Greenwood loop, the toddler decides she no longer wants to complete our usual walk, but instead trace our path back. By the time we reach the Obelisk again, the sound of the wind rushing across The Avenue floods back over us. We can’t yet feel it, but it is there, waiting for us again, beyond the Greenwood.