When my sweetheart described the woods near the Entwistle reservoir as temperate rainforest, I was taken aback. Rainforest sounds like something you’d have to travel thousands of miles to see rather than walk less than four miles up the road.
Our moist, cool, steamy climate encourages mosses and liverworts, lichens, fungi and ferns to creep over trees and boulders. The Irish sea keeps conditions mild enough for these ancient plants to thrive through summer and winter.
Having grown up scrambling through the wooded valleys of the moors, the Tolkienesque character of this type of landscape is as familiar as the open moorland over the hill. Wild orchids grow further along the path that heads from this spot towards an outcrop of rock called Fairy Battery; follow Cadshaw Brook and you may surprise a fallow deer grazing near Entwistle reservoir.
My second picture was taken at the Natural Science Museum, a similar distance from my sweetheart’s home in Jackson, Mississippi. The museum gardens are landscaped with native plants. By going through the museum, you have access to ancient bluffs with seashells embedded in them, bottomland swamp, riverside and backwater.
Two different places – one or another of them perhaps seems more familiar to you.
Familiarity persuades us our way is better, because it’s what we’re used to, but tempts us to overlook miracles on our doorstep, because interesting places must always be farther afield. As I grow older, I try hard to keep both ideas at bay, though I don’t always succeed.
I’m sharing these pictures for the final day of October Lines&Squares with thanks to Becky for her inspiration and community building. It’s been fun!
Oh, and for those who celebrate it, Happy Halloween!