Yesterday I cut through the wooded path on the Common to meet some friends arriving that morning, who are going to spend their summer travelling around Europe.
As I walked through the woods I turned my iPod down so Vivaldi was no longer drowning out the cars but was instead enhancing the sunlight dappled path marked by chirping birds heralding from every direction. A friendly robin hopped off of his singing branch to walk a few steps with me, biding me farewell before he flew away.
It is these days that you see the magic in the ordinary; drinking it in and letting it wash over you. Things here suddenly seem to change overnight. One day it is damp and rainy and then the next everything is green and vibrant and lush. My little garden has suddenly come to life almost over night, with yellows and pinks and white rainbows of color popping out everywhere.
The Common is a little oasis in the middle of town. Walking down the path you are suddenly surrounded by the arms of the trees. The forest envelops you and you no longer think you are in a village. There is a magic to these woods. A place you would have pretended to be Robin Hood in as a child, brandishing your bow to a quivering tree. You can imagine the highwaymen hiding in the thick of the bushes, waiting for the coaches headed to Oxford or coming to London.
There are two ponds on the Common; one is more enchanting than the other. It is hidden away and only slightly visible from the road. A very entertaining family of ducks live there and if you are quiet enough you might be lucky to have a Muntjac cross your path in the coolness of the forest. The Common asks only one thing in return of you, to stick to the “countryside code”, leave nothing behind but your footprints. In a time where people seem more and more to have a need for instant gratification, leaving only our footprints is something to strive for. What would your footprints say about you?
As Robert Louis Stevenson said, “the best things in life are nearest: breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of right just before you”. These are the simple things, the magic of ordinary days.