Small Things: Into the Wilderness

A tree trunk sprouting a forest of moss. What adventures happen there?

We’re lucky enough to have plenty of  secluded countryside around us, so getting out for a safe and peaceful walk with Bruce is still no problem. 

One of our favourite routes  is along a footpath bordering the River Derwent. It makes a change from the route we take most days, and there are good views for me and interesting sniffs for Bruce. 

Halfway along the path a fallen tree blocks the way. The path is bordered by the river on one side and  boggy ground on the other, so there’s no option but to crawl under the fallen trunk. I’m not as flexible as I once was, but Bruce patiently waits as struggle under it making old man noises. 

The tree trunk, about as thick as my thigh, is covered with  moss. Close up the moss looks like a dark and impenetrable forest, where all sorts of microscopic adventures take place. While Bruce was occupied eating some particularly flavoursome tall grass, I took some macro photographs of the moss: in the background you can see the blurred image of a real tree trunk and the bright blue April sky.

Sadly the were too big to walk through the moss-forest, so I’ll just have to imagine what dangers and pleasures we might have found in our micro wilderness. 


A tree trunk sprouting a forest of moss. What adventures happen there?

2 Responses

  1. Steve Trimmins says:

    What a lovely post Dave. I had to laugh at your mention of old man noises! Do you find that you also make them when getting up from a soft chair? I do. I also find myself saying “Tea – lovely” when someone gives me a cup of tea. I think I turned into my father a few years back when I wasn’t looking!

    I’ve always been quietly fascinated by the life (and sometimes death) struggles that go on in nature out of our usual range of vision. When I was a cub scout leader I would sometimes peg out a square metre of ground at our local outdoor centre for each Six and ask them to bring me a list of everything they could find in their square. After five minutes I usually got lists comprising – and without fail – grass, twigs, leaves, a slug and the odd dead fly. Then I’d hand out magnifying glasses and ask the little monsters to look again, really closely… They’d then find some real little monsters!

    • Dave Fernley says:

      Steve, I make those noises all the time. They just crept up on me, sometime over the last few years. Glad you liked the post. When I was a teacher training student, we used to do the same exercise with the one metre square. I love looking at things close up, and macro photography is one of my favourites. You get a whole different perspective on life. It’s a bit like that old sci-fi film ‘The Incredible Shrinking Man’.

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