Tag Archives: beech trees

Enchanted beech leaves

They unfurl as delicate, pale greens. There is something about the way light passes through a beech leaf in May. Something otherworldly, and unlike what happens with any other tree. Beech leaf filtered sunlight seems to come from somewhere else, from a different time, a better place. The light that falls through them is softer, and full of possibility, and the leaves themselves glow with it.

A beech wood in spring is a magical place. If you were going to see a unicorn anywhere, it would be here, amongst the bluebells, in the beech leaf light. If you were going to step into a fairy tale, these springtime paths would be the ones to carry you off.

As the year turns, the beech leaves darken and no longer let the light through. The beech wood will become, for a while, rather like any other wood – wonderful in its own ways, dappled and inviting, but not as suggestive of magic.

In the autumn, it will become a place of extraordinary colour again, as the beech leaves yellow, and then turn towards remarkable copper hues, and blaze for a while.

Bluebells at twilight

Bluebells and new beech leaves, garlic flowers and wood anemones – these are the key plants for me at this time of year. I live in an area of beech woodland, where all of those flowers can be found – sometimes intermingled, sometimes in great swathes.

The two best places for experiencing the flowers and the gorgeous, vibrant delicacy of new beech leaves, require quite long walks. Lockdown issues aside, I’ve had a lot of body difficulties since the winter and my energy levels aren’t great. Ambitious walks are not any sort of option at the moment.

Yesterday I figured out a more feasible walk that would give us some, if not all of the seasonal plants. We didn’t get as far as the wood anemones. As the route required crossing the local common – a spot that can be rather too busy for my social distancing preferences – we set out in the evening. I love walking at twilight, and there are never as many people about.

Bluebells in the gloom turn out to be rather wonderful, a sort of blue haunting rather than the woodland sea effect you can get in the day. We were also treated to a spectacular sunset and at one point the clouds looked like cranes in flight, I thought. Which I am taking as a good omen because frankly I could use some good omens right now.

I feel more connected for being able to do this. More connected with the land, and the season, more grounded in myself. There’s a lot going on for me at the moment, despite the limitations of our current circumstances. I’m rethinking my future plans, and reimagining myself so there’s a lot of upheaval. It’s good to check in with something that is so much part of this landscape, this time of year, and so much part of my heart.

Light through beech leaves

In the spring, beach leaves are a pale and delicate green, the sun passes through them easily and there’s something enchanting about a beech wood in direct sunlight. As the year advances, the beech leaves darken to a deep green that doesn’t let very much light through.

However, come the autumn, trees pull what they can back out of leaves, and the dark green fades to a delicate yellow, and then leaves turn a coppery colour before they fall. The impact on light in a beech wood at this point is startling.

A lot of light comes through the pale yellow leaves, but, filtered in this way it comes through as much more golden. If there are also fallen beech leaves, you get the amazing effect of honey tinted light interacting with coppery tones on the woodland floor. It’s a subtle thing, something you could miss if you weren’t looking for it. If you stop and pay attention, it’s quite a remarkable sight.

Beauty is around us. Re-enchantment is an everyday option if you go looking for it.