The underbrush is perfectly dry when we lay the blanket down.
Having walked only 15 minutes away from the car, parked in an off-road area, the sounds of the busy road we were on are far behind. Its incredible. The all consuming power of being enveloped by forests. Walk a while in your closest wood (ours is Coed Y Brenin Forest in Snowdonia National Park) and you’ll be able to hear it. As you step through the undergrowth, leaves and twigs crackling under foot, feel the outside sounds slowly get swallowed up by the timber and foliage. There is a good reason why much of British Folklore and Mythology has stemmed from the Forests.
On a hot day, after a rain shower the night before, the atmosphere can feel positively enriching. As the damp underbrush is blasted with the rays of sunshine breaking through the foliage, the moisture begins to evaporate, creating gorgeous patterns of light and moisture in the air. The perfume of the forest floor is all around, yet the smell of decay is not foul, but sweet and fragrant.
Not foul at all anymore, just sweet like the forest. There are no limitations on where you can place your plot. Simply walk for long enough and a place will present itself. The trees provide cover from any glancing rain showers. Alcoves in the earth, created by fallen trees and rocks, provide shelter from the wind. A place where the sun breaks through the green is always preferable, where the ground is soft and can be broken easily.
There with the blanket out, and the stun streaming down, dappled green by the summer leaves. There you can have your picnic. It almost seems a little foolish to do such a thing in the modern age. To wander out of 4G signal, away from the networks and to simply enjoy staying in one place on its own merit.
More people should be doing this. Populating these beautiful woods with the quiet and stillness of complete tranquility. Lying still – each of them with their own blankets. All contained in their own biome of comfort and familiarity. Spotted round the forest in groups and couples, they lay by the rivers and under the tire
swings. Rolled in the undergrowth and scattered with the twigs of the shrubs.
But that isn’t the way it is now. Right now its all but silent, with the traffic noise sucked into the trees and us there with the blanket out.
Gregory Chaserdwell is a journalist/novelist from Devon, UK. His writing, published nationally and internationally, focuses on microcosmic subcultures formed in England’s rural communities.…