My immediate surroundings, as beautiful and idyllic as they are, do not contain me. I am a wandering star with a curious heart that finds joy and adventure in exploring.
Not too far away from my current abode, there is a gently nurtured wildlife path on the edge of Martin Mere. Fen and I have been aiming to walk this path for quite a while so, with much joy, on a fine May day, we found ourselves there.
Through the gate, we immediately entered the domain of butterflies and damselflies busily drifting and darting from one flower and leaf to another. For a short stretch, a fine assortment of hedgerows and trees lined the path, giving various degrees of sunshine and shade that was ideal for the winged beings that lived here. Bright yellow brimstone butterflies, too flighty to pose for a photo, fluttered teasingly around us while a dazzling blue damselfly paused, more obligingly, in the sunshine.
We soon reached a clearing and then, through another gate, we were by the side of a lake. In glorious full sunshine, we walked further along. On the right of us, tall, thick reeds covered the vast mere, giving sanctuary to the wildfowl and mysterious creatures that reside here. Only the occasional flash of wings, the sudden shake of reeds, the gulping sound of something in the water, and the unfamiliar calls of secret birds captivated our senses, making us acutely aware of this unseen world at our side.
On this fair day, we were amazed that no one else (not human, in any case) happened to be here, and we walked quite a way, lured further on by the temptation of what might be around the next corner.
There were several bird hides on this path, giving views through the reeds to small clearings, ponds, and waterways. A grey heron took flight, just a few feet away, and settled somewhere out of sight.
Further still, a series of small ponds, almost dried-up, lay in a hedge-lined meadow. Fen spotted a cute toad in the grass while black winged damselfly skimmed around the hawthorn.
There was something mysterious, almost disturbing, about this meadow, which played on my senses as I walked through it. Hemmed in on all sides by thickets and dwarf-like trees, I quickened my pace, and that inexplicable feeling soon passed with the strengthening sun.
We’ve since walked this route again. There’s always something different to experience especially as the season gathers pace. I wondered about the curious one-legged mistle thrush; a pre-occupied stoat; peacock butterflies sunbathing; a young hare testing its speed; and a reed bunting surveying the mere from the top of a slender tree.
Out there, upon the mysterious mere, amidst acres of reed beds, are untold tales. As I walked quietly by, and listened closely, those stories began whispering their secrets.