Change can be good or it can be frightening. Change can be stimulating or depressing. Sometimes we expect to find changes and are surprised, pleasantly or otherwise, when we don’t.
I went for a walk this last weekend. Five years ago, give or take a day I made the same walk, around Dunwich Heath on the Suffolk coast. The repeat was aimed to discern if the fabulous fungi we saw that day still existed.
Down the years I’ve seen some spectacular fungi, not least in the student flats I inhabited. But that late September day in 2010 provided me with some glorious images.
Those pictures stayed with me and when one appeared in a Timehop of five years ago last week I wondered: will their ancestral spores still survive to today? Well time to go and find out.
We left the car at the National Trust car park by the Dunwich Coastguard cottages and headed north across the heath. The heather is past its best and the gorse flowers almost gone. Blackberries, usually in profusion, are late this year, if the sour tasting berries I sampled are anything to go by.
But lots of people were enjoying the late summer sunshine, a hang glider swooped impossibly close above our heads and Dog’s nose did many a twitch enjoying the novelty of fresh air and nature of which he is normally deprived within his urban routine.
The soil is poor, the countryside sparse of population and the skies, for England, monumental.
So it was that we finally turned left onto the path that, those few years ago contained the fungoid jewels. In my memory the day felt very similar, the path an easy sandy track, the trees mostly birch, in clumps amongst the heather.
I’ve never minded change – I’ve changed over time: physically not necessarily for the better – I lack a head of hair but I can grow a decent beard in less time than it takes man to travel to Mars these days, or circumnavigate the M25 which is much the same; emotionally I am more robust except when watching sport; financially, I don’t trust to luck quite as much as I did; socially I’m still a mix of the adept and inept.
But the natural world’s changes tend to focus on what is no longer there – birds and butterflies of my youth; green spaces reinvented as urban incursions; roads where previously access was impossible; a lot more people where before solitude was a given not the exception; a climate that no longer gives us the cleansing of harsh winters and the excitement of snow.
For once, nature had maintained her poise and dignity.
I took a shadow selfie to celebrate
I will leave you with my favourite, that captures both the glory of nature and the smut that informs my humour…
Some things, I’m glad to report, do not change.