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"Secret Stairs in the Enchanted Wood" from Granny Goes Trekking May 2011
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Enchanted Woodland Wild Garlic and Bluebells Path among Wild Garlic The Secret Stairs

Meg: "We went to find the Secret Stairs in the Enchanted Wood, Katie and I. The spring sunshine kissed the rough stone walls, down which Ivy Leaved Toadflax flowed in torrents of tiny, delicate lilac colored flowers, tipped with yellow. Not satisfied with this, the same sun kissed the wavelets in the bay into diamonds, while the wind ruffled them gently, roughening them into frosted glass. Hand in hand we walked, talking as only an eight year old girl can, about the mystery and secrecy of the enchanted woodland we had set out to discover.

We turned up the road to our tiny "Cathedral of the Isles", grey stone spire reaching up towards the white tufts of cloud drifting by. At once, the peace and serenity of the place took hold, and Katie and I whispered our comments, heard only by numberless birds, twittering amongst the gently swaying branches above us. A little path, cross-hatched by thick roots, led us deeper into the sun-dappled woodland. On one side, drifts of wild garlic, the pungency of their scent contrasting with their delicate heads - white balls made up of tiny star-like white flowers.

On the other side, bluebells crowded amongst the tree trunks, their blue cups dangling from their green, curved stems. Katie ran ahead, the sunlight picking out her golden hair, as it danced under her pink sun hat, her purple dress swaying with her lithe, energetic young movements. Where were the stairs? Was it far? Who else knew about them? Why were they there?

Suddenly the path fell away like a cliff top, and, approaching, yes, there they were, old worn sandstone slabs, swathed in moss, leading down into the depths of the woodland, to other narrow paths, wending their way here and there amongst the bluebells. She skipped down, full of awe, thrilled to find the stairs, made secret by her bright mind, the woodland enchanted by the innocence of her imagination.

We choose a narrow path, nearly overgrown by fresh green leaves, here and there nettles, as yet soft with new growth. Brambles extended their curved branches across the path, making us stop to part them and pass on. The trees were bright with early spring leaves, the teasing breeze making the sunlight flicker and dapple the forest bark she ran across. Suddenly a little rabbit bobbed out of the grass, and froze at the sight of us. Katie stopped, breathless, watching the wind stroke his soft grey-brown fur. And then he was gone, darting into the bushes. Every flower was a joy to her, every bird fluttering across the path, a surprise. Celandines lined the track, their shining golden petals pointing sharply. And then a crop of wood anemones, white as starlight, their six petals backed with green, and a minute coronet in the midst of each, sporting dainty yellow stamens, like jewels in their crown. She picked one gently, carrying it carefully all the way back down the road, commanding me to place it gently in an egg cup of water, so that mummy could admire and share her wonder."


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