It was late in October of the previous year when I pulled into the carpark of the forest, a couple of miles past the last village, opposite the abandoned farmhouse. The ruins of the old manor were clawing over the hill and I could hear the low, sloshing wash of the sea as I stepped out of the car. It was only a short walk to the winding path that crept down into the forest, disappearing into a shadow of bristly pine and half naked oak.
It had been several years since I had last come to the forest, and other than a new sign on the long, rusty barrier that separated the car park from the trail, it didn’t seem much different. The farmhouse opposite though was even more bowed under its own weight, the roof slowly collapsing toward the earth, slumping like a wounded animal.
There, on the fringes of the wild forest, there was a tension in the landscape that unsettled something nameless within me. I looked one way and saw the vast, sombre wilderness, silent and looming, where my most ancient ancestors had perhaps once dwelt. I looked the other way and saw the rigid farmhouse and grid of fields where more recent ancestors settled and cultivated the land.
I squeezed past the barrier and descended the trail, slipping down into the quiet wild, drawn by a shadowtongue voice that told me go.
[Composed by Christopher McAteer
Performed by David McCann
Video by Stuart Calvin]