The numberplate of destiny

Tank Green/ December 23, 2023/ Writing Walking

Photo of a yellow numberplate (G29 LAH) on a large log in the woods.

Photo of a yellow numberplate (G29 LAH) on a large log in the woods.

In Netley Park, you can find a log upon which rests a numberplate. Legend has it that the numberplate is a divination tool: whatever combination of numbers and letters you can see tells you something about your life. According to the lore, if you chance upon it on a Monday, you can learn about your past. Wednesdays reveal a meditation on the present, and Fridays a prediction for the future. No one’s quite sure what the other days of the week signify, which is bad luck for me as I encountered it on a Saturday.

I say bad luck, but in reality, those letters were an arresting sight and I knew instantly what aspect of my life they referred to. There was no mistaking that the L stood for lemon scented, the 7 for the wise ducks of the Severn Valley, the 9 for the amount of seconds it takes for my heart rate to substantially lower during meditation, the Z was obviously the death card, the M for the magical morning clouds of the dawn, and the S for, well, I’ll keep that one secret, if you don’t mind.

The question was, what was I going to do with this sudden and surprising intervention into my private life? Should I make the dawn pilgrimage to douse myself in lemon essential oil and meditate in the presence of the wise ducks of the Severn Valley as the numberplate suggested? I mean, on the one hand, there was clearly no question that I should do this: the numberplate was telling me that I would experience rebirth into my hoped for [redacted]. In which case, how could I not make the pilgrimage? On the other hand, was I genuinely ready to transform myself so? Had this life of Tankness truly brought me all it could? Was 9 seconds really the best I could do?

Honestly, I don’t have an ending to this story. It is simply something I will have to think about for a good while, and then decide on which public transport options no doubt. My main aim in sharing the wisdom of the numberplate with you, is to encourage you to go out into the forest and find it. My wish for you is that, as you wander slightly off your intended route along the North Downs Way, that the numberplate will suddenly reveal itself and your destiny to you, as it did me. There is magic and transformation and an awful lot of fungi in those there damp and boggy Netley Woods. May you go forth and welcome it into your life.