For the first time in good few weeks I decided to take my dogs to the local woods. Through out the summer I had been visiting everyday and walking the paths I knew well from childhood. Then with starting uni again and the bad weather, I put off going and instead stuck to the less muddy fields at the back of my house. I’m still not sure why I went to the woods today, but sometimes I just have this need to be close to nature and have a change of scene. Even places you know so well are changing all the time and the woods are a good example of this. I think also I needed to clear my head -these days of very little daylight are already starting to get to me! I seem to be sleeping a lot more and it’s not doing me any good, but then the soft warmth of a bed is a hard thing to pull away from in the cold, dark mornings!
So, in the woods I took one of my normal circle routes for what I call a short walk it’s still an hour though. Listening to shuffled heavy metal songs, I followed the River Irk on a wet footpath. The river was a fast current today, but it had not burst its banks, making a change from one of the last times I visited the woods. The lower footpaths were flooded that time and the river a constant danger as it rushed past in a torrent. It was very muddy though and the right kind of footwear which I don’t own was so needed. I just about made it without falling over, but I shall wear some boots next time and not my trainers!
Then when I came onto the last stretch of my walk I saw something in the distance. It looks like one of those white plastic arch pop up things farmers use to protect their crops. I wondered what it was doing over a large tree root and decided that the woods rangers must be doing some kind of work. As I got closer I saw this;
There was also a sign, asking people to respect the painted tree stump and to find out more by going to a guy- the artist’s facebook page. I took the photo and went for a closer look. By chance, a couple with two very large dogs crossed the pathway and my dogs took an unliking to this sudden invasions of their space. Sindy went into ‘Mistress Protection Mode,’ and didn’t stop barking till the other dogs had gone out of sight. Patch decided she would submit to the large dogs and rolled about in the mud. That’s not a good idea when you are a small, short haired, white dog!
A van pulled up as the couple were leaving and straight away I knew that whoever was in the van had come to check on the tree stump. It’s just one of those knowing feels we all get. Anyway there was nothing I could do, so I stared at the stump so more and this guy came over. He was actually very pleased that I had taken in interested and photos of his project. He had of course got all the right permission to paint there and it was part of his college course he said. The conversation we had was interesting and I liked how he had drawn people’s’ suggests onto the stump. He said that someone had wanted people jogging on there, someone else had suggested mushrooms and a little girl had wanted her fingerprints there too. The people walking their dogs matches what I use the woods for.
To undertake such a project at this time of year was proving testing and he said the weather had been worrying him. The paintings had coped well though! I think it does add a touch of colour to the woods at a time when most of the colours are starting to fade. The the fact too that its aimed at people who use the woods as well is really good. It sort of brings the dead tree stump back to life too. I think I’ll be checking it out again next time I take a walk in the woods!