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Beech wood

I stood surrounded by the tall grey trunks of beech trees, deep in the silent forest. Each tree grew a little apart from its neighbours. Row upon orderly row of slender trunks, separate, aloof, all identical and all individual. I craned my neck to look up to the distant canopy. High above, branches reached out from the trunks, crossing and re-crossing, a complex, interwoven multidimensional lattice. Here, the trees grew together, identical and individual. The leaves shimmered in translucent summer sunlight, green and burnished gold. Deep, peaceful tranquillity surrounded me. Far from the bustle of home, I felt some fractured, frazzled part of my soul begin to heal.

Carpeting the ground were fluttering leaves, orange and copper and bronze. I frowned. I felt no breeze against my skin. Yet the autumnal leaves that completely covered the ground for as far as I could see in every direction were moving. When I concentrated on any one area, everything was still but when I looked out across the forest floor, there were dizzying waves of soft, mesmerising movement.

I crouched down to take a closer look. The tumbled image of jumbled leaves cleared to reveal a butterfly. It slowly fanned its wings; orange marbled with gold and copper, with complex splashes of deep bronze and spots of rust and black. I reached out to touch it and it leapt into the air. I looked out through the trees and saw the forest floor tremble. The innumerable butterflies that I had mistaken for fallen leaves, suddenly took flight. The air was filled with hundreds of flashing, fluttering insects. I knelt in wonder as I was surrounded by the erratic, swirling flight of kaleidoscopic orange.

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