Barely into the walk and skirting a short avenue of Elder, bordering an expanse of exposed, open ground, we found that perhaps a third of them had been toppled. None of the felled trees looked to be in poor condition, although many were top-heavy with clinging ivy, which might have increased their vulnerability to the gale.
There’s something about walking in a strong wind: a reminder, as if any was needed, of the capacity of nature to generate and apply singular force. A reintroduction to the perspective, which sometimes escapes us, of our relative insignificance; as individuals, and as a species.
The wind, a westerly and surprisingly mild for early February, had blown for most of the previous day and remained strong, causing even a pair of ravens to struggle for control. The level of animation among the hedgerow birds was noticeably higher than even a few days back, snowdrops had pushed through the leaf litter in tight clusters and there was an end-of-winter feel to it all. Way too early to be making those kind of assumptions of course, with February barely started.
Deeper into the woods and the creak of branches high above us kept us on alert. New deadfall lay everywhere, reinforcing the point. We were put in our place and there’s something to be said for that.