It disarms me.
The stillness, the mud squelching between my toes and the squashed aroma of sap, moss and decay transports me into the memory of another day.
A blanket spread upon the ground, half in sunlight and half shaded by the arms of an oak tree. Birds are singing distantly. High above they are building their nests from the previous Autumn’s leftovers.
There is life and greenery. Children play amongst the bluebells and daisies, dancing and singing with an infectious joy. Others make collages from the different leaves they find: Ash and Poplar, Beech, Lime and the ubiquitous Oak.
It is a festival of Spring and of nature; a celebration of the continuing cycles of birth, growth and death. Where others pray to silent and unseen Gods in grey and cold constructions, we sit in quiet reverence to the warmth and coloured diversity of the Earth.
No-one who is here believes it could be destroyed.
I am back in the present; back in the bleak landscape of man-made destruction. Where trees once stood are now black holes, lost to the depths of time. All life that relied on them vanished with them. The woodpeckers, the mushrooms, the beetles and the squirrels all evicted. Behind me some of that life still remains, like the past, but ahead of me the world is unrecognisable.
The clogging smell of diesel and brick dust fogs my senses, like a thick curtain, as they prepare to try again. Today, like every other day for the last six months, what remains is due to be ripped up and torn apart.
They do not see us coming since they do not know we exist. But today I give myself and add my name to the long list, to ensure the forest lives another day.