We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time ~ T.S.Eliot
Tired of all the excesses and inactivity of the past week we went on a little exploration of a village close by; Gumley, small, with just one street - a pub and a church - a one horse town. It is part of a larger estate with hills and valleys, woodland and pasture; the church stands on a small rise and the warm stone glowed in the afternoon sun. Partly surrounding the church is a small woodland; we ventured in through an old dilapidated gate, that is neither use nor ornament, and crunched through a leaf-littered floor. From past posts you know that I am in my element when surrounded by ancient trees, and although the feeling of a woodland is different in winter; I still find them full of mystery and unspoken secrets.
Trees had fallen and were rotting back into the ground; but where there is death, life finds a way. The trunks had been taken over by such a variety of fungi some glistening in the sun, as if coated with honey.
Suddenly, out of nowhere, a small group of sheep blundered into view; as startled to see us, as we them. They looked so incongruous in a woodland setting rather than pasture; soon they ignored us and went about their business, as if we were the intruders, not they. On the way out we found a broken fence, no doubt they would make their way back to the grass when they were ready.
The back of the church opens out on to grazing land with a huge tree at its centre, planted to give the animals shade in the heat of summer.
Back out on the road I spotted this ancient wall draped with ivy - to my mind, reminiscent of Miss Havisham's garden - beautiful in its neglect.
It is always good to spend time out of doors after all the overindulgence of Christmas - and now my husband is retired we hope to go on many more adventures and explorations of neighbouring villages, finding secret overgrown places and paths that lead nowhere.
We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures that we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open. ~ Nehru