This morning I am up early, pulling on my walking boots and heading out into the fields before the day has fully started.
The natural world seems so alive to me in springtime. The hedgerows stretch upwards towards the blue skies, straining to grow.
I instinctively want to steer clear of the nettles that are creeping outwards towards the path, but I know that if I take a moment to crouch down and look closely, there will be delicate white blooms to admire beneath the leaves.
I reach the edge of the little woodland, on such high ground that it can be seen for miles around. I love the grassy slopes, the layers of foliage, the birdsong. There is always a gentle breeze up here, even on a hot summer’s day. Breathing in the cool, clean air, I feel refreshed and alive.
As well as hedges, ditches frequently act as markers between the fields. These paths are virtually impassable in winter due to the heavy clay soil, so drainage is vital and these little sleeper bridges are common.
Climbing uphill again, there are views out to the neighbouring village and glimpses of a little pool of water – a pleasant walk in its own right. Deciduous trees are native here and the local landscape drastically transforms from season to season. April is a palette of greens.
I turn towards home. There is a haze of sunshine in the air and the day is beginning. I can hear a faint rumble of traffic from the south now and occasionally there is a glint of speeding metal on the horizon that gives away the location of the distant road.
The pathways here are ancient byways. No crops will grow in the hardened soil where people have walked for centuries. Either side, pushing through the freshly tilled soil, tiny green shoots are visible.
Almost back now. When I approach the next crossing, birds scatter into the air. Several house martins circle above – we are headed in the same direction. They have seven nests in the eaves of our house and returned to roost last week. I watch them dart back eastwards again, and it helps me pinpoint my home and waiting family.
My boots are left by the back door, disinfected and set aside to dry. A new habit that now feels normal. I arrive in the kitchen, greeted by many excited voices, feeling motivated and ready for the day.
—Keep safe and well everyone. With heartfelt thanks to all those who are working to keep us safe, especially those on the frontline in the NHS and hospitals around the world.—