(Needle-felted Fly Agaric)
The books that are read to us as young children, help to shape the people we will become. It affects our style, our understanding of our surroundings, our references in the world. It’s little wonder as these books are often read to us over and over and over again. They are the first pictures that we study in detail and commit to memory in our young heads.
My children were raised on Elsa Beskow books. Not exclusively, of course, but they were a running theme throughout their young years, as they would be rotated on our Seasons table. The illustrations are delightful. The stories simple and centred on our natural world.
Imagine our delight when we walked into a forest that could only be straight out of the pages of the Children on the Forest book. If we had looked round one of the trees and spotted the small family out, gathering mushrooms and berries for the winter, none of us would have batted an eyelid.
I think its the first time we have found bilberries, growing wild. Oh, for a small basket.
Our walk was up Merrick Mountain, in Galloway, Scotland. It is an 8 mile walk to the summit, but we knew that we were not going all the way up. Our 10 year old dog is arthritic in her back legs and the boulder part noticeably took it out of her. She is so loyal, she would have accompanied us to the top and beyond, if we had asked it of her, but we knew it would be a mistake. Above the tree line would suit us.
Once beyond the fairly steep climb over the boulders, we reached a part that felt like a valley. Much easier and also beautiful in its own right. The heather was in full bloom, adding the perfect touch of colour. The children explored the bothy, which is the first they have seen. Such a beautiful day. We had to remind them that conditions are not always as good in Scotland and long distant trekkers may be glad of this building as a shelter.
We reached the trees. It’s fenced off to stop deer eating all the newly planted young plants. The children became the children in the forest. Acting out stories from the book. Reminding me of the tales.
We found bilberries and fungi in the shade of the pine trees.
At this point, half the party continued on, while I stayed behind, with two of the children, to give our old faithful hound a chance to rest. She blended right into the scenery.
While we waited, there was a chance to practise stick sword fighting while balanced on a log. To climb trees. Hunt for little people wearing red and white toadstool hats. With the light coming through the leaves, it added even more to the magic of the place.
Also we practised our cloud appreciation on the lone cloud in the sky. A classic lenticular cloud. Formed at high altitude. Stationary. A stacked lens-shaped cloud.
Once the others returned, we headed back down the mountain. Ready for a cup of tea and cake at the cafe below. Only right to end where we started.
(Needle felting notes: I used Jacobs sheep fleece for the white base and spots. It felts up firm, with a slight spring. The red is merino.)
Anyone else read the Children of the Forest book?
(Affiliated link in this post.)