It has seemed at times that I have come to the bottom of my responses to the Forest and its seasons and moods. Surely there can be no new emotions to have? Artistic responses and I never rule them out, but emotions - and maybe even varieties of that feeling which nature can inspire which I both hesitate to call, yet certainly nothing else fits and so - the 'spiritual'.
How wrong that was! Around the trail yesterday morning and it seemed to me that I had been mistaken to suspect that that depth had been fathomed. Could ever be fathomed. I knew that I gave my heart to this hill and this forest some time ago, and am continually dazzled by the shows it puts on, the artworks and the special effects and generally just everything that's here that a mixture of light, sun, moon, weather, season, vegetation change, moss, fungi can effect...and how they interact with the manmade artificial landscape/previous planting schemes of the Forestry Commission. I knew that it frequently had the same effect on me that people often attribute to some Class A drugs. But I thought perhaps I might have reached the point when the emotions it evoked would be familiar to me.
But this time I realized that it was all deeper and broader than even I had imagined - how to explain? - That there were veins of intensity running underneath previous responses that I was only beginning to suspect or comprehend. Like finding an underground river - of emotions and responses - to the Forest. The light that was the silvery morning light filtered though the bare but thickly woven branches to scatter the path with rays like sudden coins. And the ridge showed a view spilling away to meet clouds on the opposite hills, and a landscape mysteriously still green and red because there has been so little real cold to turn it dun and sere. The purple under the trees and bushes a warm claret burgundy, and then coming out of the wood to a gentle boudoir light, when you slump back in the chaise longue of the mind.(Well it seemed to make sense at that point.) I was tired for some reason, and trying to keep awake, but the dream-like nature of the paths aided me, as I went forward, saying to myself - awake or asleep, just keep going - and so at last came to the end of the dream and returned to the city. The city, where always outside I am looking at any available skyline to catch a sight of the Hill and the Tower. The Tower that ensures I can view the Hill and the Forest as no other than a 'dream made flesh'.
Exeter Respect Festival
5 years ago