Isobel, the song tree

The first time I saw Isobel it was raining and I had been walking for a good few miles through the North Downs. I saw a small, appealing clearing in amongst some beech trees in Bagden Wood, so I left the path and sat on a stump in the middle of the clearing. The canopy of the beech trees sheltered me from the rain, so I was able to settle down and stare off into the half-focused distance. I felt comfortable there, despite the rain; I was quiet and content. At first I thought it was the clearing itself which called to me, and it was in a way. There was a veil which hovered behind the colours of the green and yellowing leaves above me, the carpet of auburn beech nuts and old leaves below me, and the glistening blackness of the trees’ bark encircling me. I could feel parts

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