Awoken by the tea, your tummy gurgles, and your memory teases you with the salty smell of fresh cooked bacon, and then you can taste it on your tongue, or at least you imagine you can.
Excited and delighted by your planning and resourcefulness you set about fixing a perfectly small but more than adequate English breakfast, with fresh bacon plucked straight from the cool box, the wrapped packet floating in the half melted ice water.
With the bacon sizzling, nestling perfect in the pan, you lower the heat and crack a fresh egg to gently fry alongside, then a thin slice of black pudding to heat through and serve.
These simple things, your trans-Atlantic cousins might never understand, and bless the Vegans, but you confess you still favor the staple foods of your youth, the humble morning fuel for so many working people.
The kettle whistles on the second ring and more tea completes the moment, bringing late morning and the nearing of the noon.
Satisfied, you peer across the open fields to the beautifully dense green woodland beyond, and with the sun making every conceivable effort to undo the pounding precipitation of the night prior you set about pulling on your jeans, boots and jumper and finally your waterproof coat.
Just in case, you parent yourself, although you can’t see a single cloud, and nor do you sense any repercussions by way of further threats from yesterdays inclement weather.
Outside the ground is sodden and squelches underfoot as you amble toward the tree line. You breathe in the fresh morning air, inhaling the moisture that the sun is pulling upward, and you sense the smell of the rich soil that lays fallow, yet fertile and ready to be turned, seeded and sewn when the season finally comes around.
Reaching the tree line and stepping into the wood the ground is noticeably drier. These handsome trees, brandishing a million, billion leaves have, in their collective, sheltered much of the soft woodland floor from the nights deluge and you follow the ancient animal trails that work their way into the woodland.
It’s so refreshing to be nowhere. There’s no car park, no dogs or dog mess, no signs: trespass or welcome, no manicured trails, no boot worn pathways, no benches, no voices, no litter, no heart shapes or initials carved in any of these trees, nor any of the odd orange fluorescent blobs of aerosol paint, or ribbons tied to mark the ongoing husbandry demanded by the forestry commissioner.
There’s no sign of spent shotgun cartridges, campsites or camp fires, no boy scouts, no girl guides, and the growing awareness of your privilege humbles you and as you step further in, connecting more deeply with the assembled family of these majestic nomads.
The Oak, whether Quercus robur, the English variety with roots reaching out through most of Europe, the Caucasus, and North Africa, or Quercus petraea, the Irish Oak to some, the Cornish Oak or Durmast Oak to others, a cousin, similarly rooted through most of Europe, Anatolia and as far flung as Iran.
The Ash, the Birch, Beech, Elm, Willow and Yew, these families, enduring and united, and at peace for millennia.
You have loved the woods openly since before you knew the words, before you had considered any meaning for love in the way people will talk of it in respect of other people and of themselves.
You had felt love, loving the trees, and you had felt them loving you, and you feel them now, treading and threading your footsteps, humbly following the thin, worn away hoof trails where the deer seeking safety move en masse at dawn and dusk each day.
Following ley lines, that formed essential, trodden and learned, respecting the unwritten, non-verbal teaching of young fawns and bucks, schooled in the repetitious trekking, by line-of-sight navigation, until they are themselves masters of the ancestral cartography that maps their inherited dominion.