In the cathedral of the woods, ancient oaks raise their arthritic arms in painful praise, and majestic redwoods frame the wide aisle. Sweet chestnuts drip with myrrh. Wild honeysuckle twines round birch and beech to release its incense. Far away, a thrush strikes up a hymn of worship. An unknown, unseen warbler makes its incantation from deep within the canopy of green. Chiffchaffs mark rhythm, soprano tits squeak their approval, a wood pigeon adds bass.
A damp summer day is transformed. Under the canopy of the leaves it’s barely raining. All is green, rich beauty, majesty and magnificence. The choir sings.
The woodland floor is lit with flowers in episcopal purple and gold: self-heal and buttercups, campion and orchids. Along the green path through the bracken, the tiny blue spring-heralding spires of bugle have been overtaken by giant purple foxgloves, like City of London skyscrapers dwarfing the Wren churches.
Water pours through the valleys. It tumbles down the series of mini-waterfalls which are usually dry by now, a series of stagnant pools waiting for redemption. Today it’s a river of life plunging down to the hammer pond below.
Sometimes you can sit here on a mossy tree stump and watch the deer come down to the water to drink. Sometimes the blue flash of a kingfisher lights up the valley. Sometimes you sit for ages and nothing happens. That’s the joy: you never know.
If God has a favourite colour, I reckon it’s green. I’m about to move into a giant office which, to misquote a current theme, can best be described as Fifty Shades of Grey. I’ll try to take some of the cathedral green into the grey with me.