WHEN I first set out on my Wild Wednesday trips this spring, the whole idea was to get out of the city.I haven’t managed that for this last little adventure – have cheated rather and stayed close to home again. But wildness, I realise, is everywhere. It can be very small – a wild flower pushing up through the crack in a city pavement – but it’s still invigorating, wilful: a reminder to pay attention, always, to the wildness within.
There is a shaggy, wooded part of Roundhay Park in North East Leeds – where I walk, every week, with a big, black dog called Badger. I still look after him, one day a week, as I have done for the past two years. Or does he look after me? Hard to tell which. Certainly he cheers me up with his floppy ears and crooked grin: his perfect joy at simple things – playing catch, stealing food, rolling on his back in unmentionable stinky substances…And he gets me OUT WALKING, in rain or shine, even when it isn’t a Wednesday!
Both of us particularly love the woods, and walking the high ravine: on one side, a sheer drop to a small, snaking stream below; on the other – manicured green swards where the strange golfing people gather. And in between, there is a wonderful stone wall, mossy and broken, weathered – but still standing. A lesson to us all. There is a hole in the wall that fills me with delight, every time I stumble upon it. A window between worlds, a place to crouch and peer and dream. I love the opening it makes – and, even more, the way the stones close over the top, to keep the circle intact. Holding the whole world together.
On the last day of March, 2016, I took pictures in the wood while Badger and I went wandering. Some of them are posted separately below – bare roots, stripped back bark, spring still reluctant to shine forth. And above is the hole in the wall itself. Dappled shade. Secretive. Shy. A place to look through, with your mind’s eye. For who knows where this defiant, messy, mossy, humble little work of art might lead you?