Our visit to Bradgate today is a special one. It is a welcome return to tree climbing. Our second eldest son has spent the last six months recovering from a broken arm, caused by a painful cyst in the bone. To our immense relief, he has had an all-clear that everything has healed and he can now return to living the active life he had before. We are so proud of how our son handled everything, he never complained whilst spending the hottest months of the year on bedrest, in full shoulder-to-wrist plaster.
It is a beautiful day to be in the park. Everything feels so still and filled with potential … as if the vegetation is collectively primed for a signal to burst back into life. We spot a new nest in a tree we often walk past.
Just seeing my son suddenly point out a bird with his “bad arm” is such a joyful thing to behold.
Up ahead of us are my husband and the rest of our boys. I stay behind whilst our returned climber clambers over fallen tree trunks. I am carrying his little sister in her back carrier and she cheers him on enthusiastically. I can tell she wants to get down and join in, but the light is fading, the park will close soon and I know I will never convince her to get back in again.
The view from the top of the hill over the canopy of greens and oranges towards the village, is one of my favourites. Meanwhile, my son finds another lightning-hollowed tree to explore.
I have often thought that this triad of gnarled, ancient trees look as if they are in deep conversation with each other. Deep underground, their roots must be as intertwined as their branches above.
My son finds a path through the bracken. I love seeing him treading over the difficult terrain again without a care. Our 17 month old shouts “hurry up Mummy” from over my shoulder as I try and carefully pick through the potential trip hazards.
Our lungs have that wonderful cold feeling of having breathed in lots of crisp fresh air and all of the children have flushed red cheeks. We get home just as the sun sets in red streaks across the sky.