Year of Grace, Day 131. Bonn forest treasures

Yesterday’s walk through the forest and valley nearby — Venusberg and Melbtal — took my friend H and I and Yoshi the dog through unfamiliar territory: steeply sloped ravines at the sides and bottom of which lay enormous naturally felled trunks, casualties of past winters’ furious gales most likely. The springs have been amply fed by this winter’s generous rains and the flow in the gullies was steady and clear.

I am always on the lookout for flowers and fungi on these forest forays. By the roadside leading to the forest, a clump of tête-a-tête narcissus had fully opened. The snowdrops have already gone to seed, but the next wave of spring’s ephemerals are waking up: pale pink wind anemones at bud stage and a few periwinkles – such a gorgeous blue — have opened, enjoying their access to sunlight in a clearing.

On the way to the forest and back, we took a side road into a neighbourhood I’d never walked through before. A redbud tree (Cercis) was in its full glory, and an early rhododendron with magenta flowers in a front garden complemented blooming heather.

It was quite an adventure, and took us close to two hours, scrambling up and down the ravines, taking care not to slip down the steep slopes. Once, a massive felled tree trunk blocked the path —  it did not faze Yoshi the dog. It did me but I managed eventually. A thoroughly satisfying walk, quite challenging in parts, and I’m glad that my knees and thighs had been up to it. And of course, a walk through the forest with a best friend (not to forget Yoshi the dog), seeing the new crop of wild flowers coming up, is always pure pleasure. And such a rare treasure, for no two walks, even in the same forest, are ever the same.

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