A middle aged woman walks through the forest, she walks very slowly but why so slowly? Ah, all becomes apparent, she has an elderly dog who potters along behind her. Intermittently she stops and waits for him to catch up. She looks happy and relaxed although the forest is eerily quiet – it’s early, even the birds are quiet.
The sun is bright but not yet giving any warmth, it’s rays streaming through the overhead canopy, form strange shapes on the forest floor at the woman’s feet, the darkness in the depth of the dark green almost black, ground foliage is lifelessl. She hears a snap of a twig, her body tightens, who’s there? Who would be in the forest at this time? She sees movement out of the corner of her eye, she glances over and sees the first hungry squirrel of the day, foraging in the undergrowth. She relaxes, she feels safe here, she’s walked here for many years but never so early.
Then she hears a tapping of wood on wood, she speaks quietly to her old companion “Who’s that boy? What is it? On gurard” The dog ignores her and continues snuffling the dry dead leaves, he’s no longer the guard dog he once was, he is a soft old thing now. She hears the tapping again, maybe it’s youngsters who camped overnight in the woods, it’s happened before, she has found the remains of a campfire.
The sound comes from beyond a huge old oak tree, she glances at her dog, he’s slightly deaf now and shows no interest, she approaches the tree slowly, stepping carefully. She stoops to see what is behind it, the noise stops, she holds her breath … waits … there it is again. Her ears twitch as they fine tune which direction the noise is coming from, her eyes follow the direction, Up, higher, higher still and there she sees it, the most beautiful red, black and white woodpecker, tapping ever so slowly at the hollow trunk, a slow smile forms on the lady’s face, she seems a little wistful. What is she thinking?
“Why did I leave my camera at home this morning?”