Tom’s been laid low the last week, and he’s had some quiet days with plenty of honey and lemon and aspirin. A good time for a trip to the woods: a place where talking is positively discouraged. With late afternoon sun calling we took an easy amble around Firestone Copse and said very little.
Layers of sound build the farther you walk without talking: A few birds, then your step scuffing sandy ground, or snapping twigs on untrod paths. Farther on, more birds with different rhythms, persistent or tuneful. Then the almost-groan of trunks or low beams as a gust blows through. Climb one of the gnarled trees by the estuary and listen to how the wind changes in its boughs. Or walk below the pines and listen to the silver-tip icy sound of the wind through their needles.
If you are quiet for long enough, and remember to look up, you might hear leaves in top branches brushing against each other, or a skittering sound against bark. The red squirrels leap so confidently across the canopy, reckless and graceful. happy to stop and stare from a safe height.
Take stock on a sturdy root, and stop for a snack. (I recommend coffee and popcorn cookies) and sit in companionable quiet while the sounds wrap around you. And then go home and read this quote. Heck, read the whole book.