Listen to Nature!
Yesterday was the first truly warm day of spring so far; a day that makes you stand up a little straighter than you have all winter, like a little leaflet unfurling on a branch for the first time. The season is still in its infancy but wild flowers are blooming, buds are bursting and sap is dripping from wounds on silver birches. In the evening I took a short walk around the woods, chasing the fading orange light and taking mental notes on the activity of the fallow deer, when I heard a crackling, popping sound coming from the canopy. I looked up and around, expecting to see a grey squirrel munching on the pine cones but none could be found. No birds either. What could it be? Somewhat perplexed, I continued walking with my neck craned skyward to discover the strange sound - like popcorn kernels popping in the distance - was the same in every scots pine tree. A tiny winged seed spiralled down from above and I found my answer; it was the pines themselves, the cones cracking open to release the seeds!
Despite having spent many hours wandering through pine woods, I had never before heard such a thing. I guess it’s these tiny moments of joyous discovery and chance encounters that keep me coming back to the woods, mountains, valleys and oceans. Each new experience invigorates the spirit, even if only temporarily, and keeps me wide eyed and in eager anticipation of my next opportunity for outdoor exploration. Next time you’re out and about in the woods take some time to be still and silent; nature truly has some extraordinary tales to tell if you’re only willing to listen.