Hey  everyone, I hope you are all well. Today I was off sick with a tummy bug and the day felt oppressive and gloomy. I couldn’t go outside but the call of birdsong lifted my spirits and I spent some time (when I wasn’t nauseous, taking photos from my window). I also looked back on some school work for revision, and I thought I would share with you a piece I wrote about Big Dog Forest, it was based on a previous blog post and you can read that here. I find it amazing that my creative writing has blossomed as a result of my blog, my teachers are noticing a difference and my words are spilling out. I feel like my whole world is unfolding on the page. I find writing so therapeutic now and I would like to thank you all for travelling this journey with me, for all your encouragement and support.

I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Thank you

Dara

A Sense Of Place

The place where I feel a true sense of belonging, is Big Dog forest. It is full to the brim with dark looming pine and glistening jet black lakes, so deep they look like empty bottomless voids; in which no light can penetrate. This place is so quiet and still, it feels like this is the only place in the world. No rumbling cities or rushing cars, no hustle and bustle of human life to take over this peaceful and tranquil land. The only noise is the melancholy chirp of the meadow pipit and the sometimes, sharp shrilling call of a bird of prey.

The bird life in this picturesque landscape, is high in the treetops or among the undergrowth which surround Lough Nabrickboy, home of the speckled trout, its waters whispering ancient secrets of our landscape. Strategically scanning for exuberant movement, I catch a swift Meadow Pipit in flight. This captivating forest has some of the finest upland landscape scenery I have ever beheld. If you climb to the top of Little Dog, you can see panoramic views of the lakes, forest and the purple spread of the heathland. Winding down the trodden pathway, I pick the luscious bilberries as I go, and breathe in the musty smell of the heather and gorse. As I reach the bottom, the squelching, sodden, grassy floor makes you feel rooted in this place, this resplendent home of my heart. I wish I could offer it up something, but all I can muster is a self-conscious breath of thanks.

 

The flash of a small copper butterfly rushes past and the furious flight of a damselfly catches my eye, more than once. This place is alive, humming and buzzing with life. The hazy sunshine makes you feel weightless, relaxed, I feel myself sinking into the earth. I am at one with it. I stretch out on the bank, see the yellow flash of a wagtail, the sun catching and illuminating its winged flight. I trail my hand along the coolness of the steely lake and imagine myself swimming in its depths. I am content.

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Big Dog Forest holds a special place for me, because it is where I watch and wait for the majestic Hen Harrier. I’m caught off-guard, a feeling rises in me and I turn. I see their effortless vertical take-off, their gliding beauty; I can almost feel myself lifted as high as the harrier in the azure blue sky. It flies around the treetops over the lake,  back to the space between the heathland, back through the trees and out of sight. Since moving to this place, from the hustle and bustle of the city, it is places like Big Dog that have enthralled me and deepened further, my love of wildlife and wild places. This stunning landscape and peaceful tranquillity will always hold a special place in my beat, my heart, my being.

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I got an A* for this piece but I still feel I could improve an awful lot. I am looking forward to expanding my vocabulary and working harder to create an atmosphere for the reader. Wish me luck!!

Dara