A tongue in cheek title as a nod to a post I wrote almost two years ago, entitled (you’ve guessed it) ‘Lost in Bramshill‘ because this (much) briefer post is something of an addendum to that one. You see, it happened again today – I got completely lost in Bramshill Forest, which just seems to be one of those places that is prone to sending my navigational abilities into complete disarray. Its just so vast, with so many twisting-turning pathways and small lakes that all look pretty much the same that, unless I stick to tried and tested routes, its very easy to lose all sense of orientation…but then, where’s the fun in looking at exactly the same scenery all of the time?
This morning, I decided to step just a few feet away from one of my usual routes to take some pictures of catkins and found myself sitting by the side of a (‘new’ and rather lovely) lake for a glorious few minutes, watching some inordinately large dragonflies hovering in amongst the water reeds and spotting a variety of birds darting about, as seems to have been this week’s theme, including a tiny black and white variety that I wasn’t familiar with (pied flycatcher is the closest match I can come up with online). After my pause, I decided to continue along that route as ‘logic’ told me it should loop back around and rejoin the familiar track somewhere beyond the trees, just a little way out of sight…but as the rejoining with the main route didn’t seem to be happening and as the track was becoming ever more narrow and overgrown, certainly not one that had been regularly walked by many people, I tried to retrace my steps to the lake, where I had felt more comfortable, and yet must have missed a turning because I found myself in completely unfamiliar territory, in a network of paths that were, at best, overgrown and, at worst, flooded. There were no other people around at all, no signposts and, of course, just as happened last time, the sun disappeared behind a layer of cloud, the sky became ominous and it started to look like rain.
Cutting this short right here as I’m sure you don’t need the blow-by-blow account of how I eventually found my way back to the edge of the woods and followed the lane back to the car, the important thing to come out of this was that I took the opportunity to ask myself how this adventure compared with the one I had two years ago, were my reactions any different? In terms of personal development, I’ve travelled a very long way in those two years and couldn’t help feeling that, at some level, this repeat performance in the very same forest had happened in order to set some sort of new benchmark.
Well the main thing I noticed is that, compared to the last time this happened – when I became quite flustered, more than a bit panicky and fairly disheveled and scratched by all the gorse and undergrowth I was prepared to push and scramble through in my eagerness to get back to ‘civilization’ – this time I had an overriding sense that ‘all was well’, even though I had no idea where I was, whether I was going even more off track and with time seriously pressing due to two appointments I had to keep. I just kept moving forwards at a comfortable pace and took the paths that were easiest to follow without having to wade through swamp or wrestle with overhead branches; quite simply, going with the flow and with what felt right.
Another difference was that I felt inclined to listen to my ‘gut’, my instincts, far more than my logical mind and in circumstances where choosing between one direction or another based upon appearances is nigh on impossible because they all look the same, a willingness to draw upon a sixth sense, and to trust that information, is all-important.
The other noticeable absentee was ‘drama’ – there was none of it, I just got on with what I had to do and remained calm, unflustered, even amused by what was happening – again, encouraged by the deep and unwavering inner knowledge that ‘all was well’.
Finally, there was humour. When I made it back to the lane, which took me past a large house with smart lawns, I recognised a distinctive cry before I even saw the eye-catching plumage and was able to add ‘peacock’ to my birdspotting list! At that point, I just had to laugh out loud – at the sheer comedy of this bird strutting around outside someone’s front door and the incongruity of it being there just a few hundred yards outside the ‘wilderness’ of my morning; but then this is Berkshire.
As before, there are plenty of life metaphors to be found in all of this – but, this time, I’ll leave you to find them for yourselves. Another change since a couple of years ago – I try very hard to write short, digestible posts!
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A great read, both your articles! I was lucky enough to be brought up in Bramshill, right next to the forest, and I covered the whole of the forest either on foot, horse or cycle. I knew pretty much all the main paths, but not the smaller ones. I used to go out and try to get lost on purpose and it was an easy task to do!! However, there is a trick to getting your bearings, so **SPOILER ALERT**! No matter where you are in the forest, if you stop and hold your breath for as long as possible, you can (because of the pure natural silence of the place) hear the odd car drive on the Bramshill Road. That sound is always going to be south.
Hah, funny, I was thinking about that the other day…such a peaceful sunny day and a distinct sound of traffic…to the south! Glad you enjoyed,I still walk there regularly and have just added some photos of stunning blossom and swans etc at Bramshill to http://www.helenwhitephotography.co.uk in the last few days.