Friday, April 22, 2011

Long shadows, small dog

Stockgrove Country Park, Beds. The photo doesn't do it justice, but this tree is a gorgeous sight in the early morning sun

Today is Good Friday, the sky is blue and the air is clear and bright, and so, having woken at a ridiculous hour as usual, I decided to take Alfie for a walk in Stockgrove Country Park.  This is one of my favourite places; it’s a beautiful area of woodland just a few miles down the road from my home.  There are paths criss-crossing throughout, a small lake, glades and thickly wooded areas and all over is that lovely, musty, earthy, ‘woody’ smell.
There’s something uplifting for your spirits about being outside early on a day like this.  I’m generally at my best in the mornings anyway, but I love the feeling of being up and doing before the majority of people are even awake.  I like the quiet too, or rather I like the lack of noise from humans.  Apart from one or two other early risers, Alfie and I had the woods pretty much to ourselves, which makes the birdsong more distinct, likewise the rustling of small animals in the undergrowth, startled by our passing.  And the day ‘looks’ different too, with the long early morning shadows of the trees thrown by the sun streaming through them at a low angle.
Alfie enjoys it, I can tell just by looking at him.  I wrote elsewhere in this blog about cats and dogs; I think another reason I’m a dog man is because I like the way you can see if a dog is happy or sad just by their face and the way they walk.  It’s going too far to say they have a soul, I’m too much of an atheist to believe in souls for humans let alone animals, but dogs certainly experience joy.  Alfie trots back and forth, tail in the air, nose to the ground, constantly on the alert.  He doesn’t stray too far (unlike my last dog Sam who would bugger off for miles and come back every 10 minutes or so); he just runs happily through the trees, rarely more than 20 metres away, popping back occasionally to ‘round me up’.
I’m back home now, and my family are all still in bed. Alfie has been given his breakfast, and I’ve treated myself to a bacon sandwich and a cup of tea.  It’s almost tempting to say that the best part of the day is over, but that’s not true (how depressing if there were nothing better to do than look forward to tomorrow). It’s Good Friday, I’m off work, the sun is shining and who knows, Stockgrove may get another visit later; it’s pretty damn uplifting at dusk too.
Stockgrove Country Park, Beds.


  1. The bottom of my garden is a sanctuary for birds and wildlife. I can sit there for ages just listening :)

  2. An uplifting post Nick. Lovely pic too:) x

    The Almost