Sunlight filters gently through the trees, stitching a rich mosaic of light and dark. A blackbird sits on the ground sunning herself; above her, minute insects dance in the warm air; brightly coloured butterflies flutter past. The woodland comes to life. Plants that had, only yesterday, bowed their heads in shelter from the storm, now open, reaching for the sun. Enjoying the moment, together they paint a picture of peace and beauty.
Stand quietly in a sunny glade and you soon realise you are not alone. Even in the cool of spring and autumn, a sunny day will bring forth all manner of brightly coloured insects, animated by the sun’s rays. Look into the shadows and you soon see that not all life seeks the sunny spot. Though energised by the sun’s warmth, much woodland life thrives best in leafy shade. Under the carpet of last autumn’s leaves, in the dense thicket of a bush, or just in the shady spots; forest flora and fauna find comfort and safety.
Like the blackbird and butterfly; we too head for the sunlit patches, anxious to warm our spirits as much as our bodies. When the sun appears, we head for its’ warmth, but as the day passes, and the temperature rises, we take refuge once more in the shade. We need both light and shade. One of the beauties of a woodland journey is moving from sun to shade and back; for in truth, we need both to thrive.
Life becomes a woodland journey. In recent months we have moved in and out of the sunlight, shade and shadow. Today the sun is shining and looking round I see that people are energised; enjoying its warmth. As I look deeper, then I see that others remain in the shadow. Even in the shadow, like shade loving plants, we can take energy from the sun’s rays and thrive.
It’s been a strange summer so far. No sooner had we packed away winter clothes than the sun disappeared; central heating in June! Now the sun is shining, enjoy the moment.
Rev Philip Payne
The Notice Sheet for 25 July can be found here