Lives get busy. There’s always so much to do. Most mornings I take the dogs for a walk on the Forest and it’s my down time. My hour or so walking in the company of my Labradors is contemplative and reflective. If I were a spiritual person this would be my church. Since embarking on the road to becoming a New Forest commoner my walks on the Forest are a source of research. I’ve found myself becoming much more aware of my surroundings. I have begun to recognise some of the herds of, and even individual, ponies and cattle. My walks are taken in the part of the Forest that I will common. I am becoming familiar with the territory. I follow the herds and look for their ‘haunts’ (the areas they roam) and ‘shades’ (where they shelter from the elements).
The early mornings are magical. I virtually have the woods, groves and tracks to myself. At this time of year the autumnal mists hang between the valleys and give the appearance of the Lake of Avalon. It’s still warm enough for a wearing a t-shirt, when the rising sun casts golden shadows across the landscape. There is a stillness that is restorative and the quiet of the dawn is broken only by the sounds of song birds and livestock.
As my working day begins and the stresses and irritations of modern life descend I am so grateful that I have such a place to escape to. I am looking forward to learning more about this amazing landscape and becoming acquainted with the people and animals who are its guardians and architects.