Bookish Discussions · Creative Pieces



Walking boots, knitted accessories, a thick coat and a steaming mug of tea; I am ready to brave the winter. We drive the long route, admiring the frosty fields that were once vibrant green in their prime. The winding roads up to Beacon Fell are slippery; our tyres grip for dear life. Once up, we circle the perimeter of the forest, searching endlessly for a brown patch to park our car. The door opens and I am greeted, quite violently, by the nipping breeze. It welcomes me to its humble abode.

I start up the path leading into the abyss of fir trees, wildflowers and hedgerows. I am desperate to find the summit. Along the way, I listen to the aching music of my dear Lancashire. The piercing whistle of the hurrying wind; the squelching of mud beneath my boots; the sweet cries of birds calling out to one another; the faint rustling of a wild animal desperate not to be seen; and the complete lack of anything human. I have found peace at last.

There’s something so enchanting about the forest in winter. Despite the declining season, it has never looked so alive. The damp moss, glistening in the faint sunlight, wraps around my finger, desperate to feel a glimpse of warmth. A mass of insects squirm beneath the soil; they’re trying so hard to survive the dropping temperatures. The flowers who dare brave the harsh winter stand with their faces turned towards the sky; they never doubt the sun will fleetingly cast its light on them. I envy how life adapts here. My fingers are numb and my face cold; I’m craving that flask of tea.

Finally, I’ve reach the peak. I soak in my surroundings. I am in awe. Despite the grey tinge, everything is so clear up here. To my left, I faintly see the rough waves of my little coastal town. A place where nature hardly exists. To my right, I see Lancashire grasp hands with Yorkshire. The wild moors of my county and that morphing into one another. I have found Paradise. Henceforth, I shall paint this image in my mind. The great expanse of my little English corner stands before me, swallowing me whole. It’s in these instances I ask myself: what would Wordsworth, master of nature verse, say if he saw this view?

I descend, feeling defeated. Slowly, I fumble down the steep, stony steps and am once again consumed by the trees. I’m on the opposite end of the forest. Darkness is settling in; I mustn’t dawdle. Making my way round the woodland, I am greeted by an unusual presence of cold. It’s radiating off a frozen lake. Despite the cracking surface, birds rest peacefully on the ice, immune to the burning cold. Winter cannot stop them. I continue my walk, stumbling across a mass of stacked logs. The spaces between them are infinitesimal, even they are desperate for warmth. Moss, mud and ice coat the indents of the bark. Nature’s affair with itself is beautiful.

I continue the hunt for our car. My feet are constantly tugged beneath the earth by mud; it’s desperate for me to stay a little while longer. The temptation is overwhelming. My hair persistently weaves itself around branches, wanting to fade into the landscape. The fresh, clean scent of the outdoors wraps itself around me. I am loved. Nature is calling to my very soul. It wants me to decompose; to ingrain myself in its very fabric. But it’s too late. I’m here.

Before I know it, the landscape is slowly receding from my view. The once so distinguished trees clump together to form a spiky outline. Somehow, it’s still so beautiful. Will I ever grow tired of this? Will I ever find something so soothing, so comforting, so peaceful as wandering the winter forest?

Settling down before the roaring fire, I pen this little note. Despite the blazing warmth coating me, the cold still stings my cheeks. Winter has left her mark on me. Just like she’s left her mark on my little county.

Lancashire: you have never looked so beautiful.

After reading Melissa Harrison’s Winter (one-forth of a collection of poetry and prose by writers to celebrate the English seasons), I was inspired to write my own winter note. I thought I would try something different from my last creative piece, Autumn. This time, I wanted to dedicate it to my lovely county, Lancashire, and the beautiful forest located just outside of Preston (which you’ll no doubt be familiar with if you follow my Instagram).

Thank you for reading, Lauren X


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