February: cold, gloom, rain, more rain, and oodles of mud. Volunteers locked down in their warm houses, perhaps a little thankful that the volunteer work parties in the wood are suspended for now.
I took a walk around Finemere Wood, footprints of adventurous souls evident in the thick, glistening, treacherous mud. Ponds brim with water and streams tumble through woodland. Muntjac nip nimbly through the undergrowth, and I spot just one flowering primrose. A robin sings loudly, defending its territory, as it contemplates enticing a mate. Spring is on the horizon.
The call of a green woodpecker, loud and laughing echoes through the naked winter trees. I think of David, a mainstay of the Finemere team, who is always amusing company. Vociferous, jolly and an expert in banter, his voice resonates through the wood with a never-ending string of extraordinary tales of adventure and intrigue.