Hainault Forest Website
Hainault Forest 17th February 2004 Itís Wet
A poem by Sarah White
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The trees stand stoically in fine February drizzle.
Airborne droplets hesitate in windless air,
then gather together on delicate branches,
before gaining confidence to drop to earth.
Moisture clings to soft clothing and exposed hair of determined walkers,
boots shooshing through drooping grass and sucking mud.
Gentle drizzle matures into steady, unremitting rain.
Tiny rivulets flow down twisted trunks and fill ancient crevices
making miniature transient pools.
The ground is no longer thirsty.
It does not glug in all available wetness.
Now it repels, forces puddles to wait, before being absorbed or evaporated.
Water in streams and ditches gathers momentum
and hurries to find the lake.
Clattering rain creates concentric circles like colloidal fractures on obsidian pond.
Unlike stone, they are not sealed and static,
but form and reform until the last drop falls from overhanging branch.
Massed raindrops fall from burdened branches
disturbing decaying leaves on forest floor.
Musty smells from mycelium threads,
pervade the moist atmosphere (and nasal membranes!)
Delicate fresh spring leaves emerge cautiously from hornbeam and hawthorn
to challenge the patchwork of hardy winter greens.
The dark green gung-ho holly has grubby dust on last years glossy foliage,
tenacious, summer-shade tolerant ivy shines boldly in subdued spring light,
and velvet moss positively glows despite dull day.
Rough and ready bramble leaves left from autumn
have bloody blotches as if they had pricked themselves
on their own thorns
No sounds today from woodland fauna.
Birds and squirrels are fled to secret places and
even whinging squeaks about the weather do not betray their presence.
Splashes, squelches and torrential rain
© Sarah White. 2004.
Sarah helps the Woodland Trust in Hainault Forest and can often be seen walking the woodland picking up the litter.