“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures that we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.”
– Jawaharlal Nehru
I love big adventures, the times you stand somewhere truly spectacular and think, “Wow, I’m here,” and you pinch yourself to make sure it’s not a dream.
But more often than not, it’s the small adventures that make life rich. The tiny experiences, like the mini marshmallows in a cup of hot chocolate, are some of the most beautiful ones.
One of my favorite activities is walking through the woods. While living in rural Lancashire I had more than enough opportunities for solitary walks, walks with friends, excursions into “uncharted territory” as well as paths worn deep by generations of wellies.
On Capernwray grounds, the woods are made for wandering.
Tall, spiky trees—beech, chestnut, and species I’ve probably never heard of—loom large on the edge of every meadow. My favorite facet of the forest, moss, covers every twig and stone in a slow-growing wave.
I’ve often read in novels (obviously novels that were not written in my home state of Arkansas) that a forest has a “carpet of moss,” so often that it’s a cliché. However, I see the reality everywhere when I step into a British wood.
Moss, ferns, peculiar fungi, small forest creatures…they turn an ordinary tract of land into something magical. If you are a fan of literature as I am, a British forest calls to mind Narnia, or the Shire, or any one of a hundred locations in a Brontë or Austen novel. Not to mention the locations of movies like Harry Potter or Robin Hood.Can you see an elf peeking around that tree? Listen to the water sprites in the burbling brook.
Psst, Britophiles! All those daydreams about mythical woods…they’re true.
But as beautiful as the woods and walks are, I think the best thing (yes, even better than moss) is the experience shared with friends. Clambering over rocks, poking slugs, squealing over orange mushrooms, finding a slow worm and thinking it’s a snake, exploring tiny caves, avoiding crazy swans and enormous bulls, climbing over gates and stone walls and barbed wire…these are the experiences that bring a big smile to my face when I think back to my year in Britain.
The beautiful thing about that is that we can have small adventures anywhere. It helps if it’s in a mystical British wood, but whether you live in North Carolina or the Philippines it’s possible to strike out into the world with friends and keep your eyes peeled for beauty, charm, and adventure.