I have to stop. I am unable to go on. It seems as if this place has forced me to stand in its presence. I have cycled through a large area of conifer plantation in the Radnor Forest on the Welsh border and now I have emerged to a place where the trees uphill to the left of me have been felled and the hill drops steeply down though open fields to the right. Along this edge of the forest road is a row of windswept and almost leafless Goat Willows that stand in contrast to the monoculture around me. They seem an unusual find, and somehow out of place here.
The cool wind is loud in their branches and I shelter in front of a pile of felled timber and sit and wait. Why was I called to stop here? Somehow my initial thoughts on arriving here were evocative of a cold and frosty winter's day. Is there something of a memory that is tied up here with childhood memories and my father? Am I just recalling an unidentifiable moment from the long distant past?
I almost feel a heaviness - a pity for these these beautiful trees that have for so long been hidden from the true light of day by towering conifers and which now lie fully exposed to the elements on this east side of the hill. Perhaps it's the sound, the deep song of the branches that ebbs and flows so slowly - like the movements in my qigong. Nature may just be saying "stop, and just observe me". I'm on a long bike ride and haven't much time to stop and dwell in one place. Here I am given the opportunity to do so.
I do some meditation before I get too cold and just absorb into my senses this unexpected special place which others would just pass by. I give thanks to the place.