One thing lockdown has given me is the time to explore my local neighbourhood. This lovely trail is my latest discovery. Walking beneath the green canopy feels ten degrees cooler than on pavement— a perk for hot summer days. Who knew there was an enchanted forest just off Finchley Road?
The leaves are losing their grip on life and finding their graves on hardened stone. Concrete, man-made, artificial, the furthest away from nature possible. I grieve for these beautiful artifacts that once graced our skies like intricate lace against palest blue. Their lives will end in green cellophane sacks, hauled onto a truck — destination unknown.
A great oak tree on Hampstead Heath in full bloom. Shelter for hundreds of organisms, from the ivy encircling its grooved trunk to the gray squirrels running along its crooked branches and magpies nesting in its yawning canopy, it is a haven for life and a feast for the eyes. It can live for centuries, as time passes more slowly for this enormous and beautiful creature. Come to the Heath and fill your lungs with nature’s sweet breath to recharge your soul. Sit beneath this lonely tree and ponder the meaning of life, the despair of love, the impending arrival of death. Exit the city and enter a dreamland.
Where do we go when it’s all over–this grand play we call life? All good things come to an end, that’s what they say, but what if it isn’t good, what happens then? Is there peace for the downtrodden? A place to rest their weary heads? If life is a tragedy, what is death? Can it be a happy ending? So many questions, so little answers. Time is the word I’m missing. In this place, it is neverending.
Every picture of the Heath is a painting, and this one of Hampstead’s No 1 Pond is no different. It aches to be set on canvas. An end of summer project perhaps? Whenever I’m feeling too closed in from living in the city, a walk on the Heath sets me straight. Quacking ducks, barking dogs, rustling leaves, and — if you’re lucky — a bit of sun gives this spot of nature in the midst of London the power to mend a tired soul.