Yesterday I starting thinking about woodland again…or rather I began with forests. My first impulse was to reread the Wood section of Landscape & Memory, that I first encountered on my Masters course in Photography and that begins with a visit to Białowieża Forest where Schama discusses the Lithuanian Bison. Google tells me that from landfall at the Hook of Holland I can drive there in under fourteen hours…so naturally on this first day of 2016 it seems a breeze! However practicalities soon crowd in and I set my immediate sights on a ‘forest’ nearer to home…so much so that I can see home (more or less) from one of its better known vantage points. We are nestling somewhere to the left of those cooling towers you can (just) see in the far distance above.
Ok so its not quite the ancient forest that Bialowieza is but a remnant of, except that in a way its maybe even older…after all the Charnwood Forest rocks are 600 million years old and the habitation of them (and the accompanying acculturation) is around maybe 5 or 6 thousand years (or one hundredth thousand of that time!).
Anyway my interest as a painter is in the spirit or ambience of the place and, here and there, the woodland closes in to give at least a momentary sense of what such places must have felt like many hundreds and thousands of years back. Although I’m sure that in the picture above there are invasive species lurking as is often the case in the UK.
Whichever way I cut it….a good three hours strolling around my local forest is probably better for me and the planet than a fourteen hour drive across Northern Europe!