In an ancient forest, I look for peace, but instead I find Happy the puppy

Max Porter

As I lie down under a 2,000-year-old small-leaved lime coppice, I contemplate what is truly sacred

This is me trying to have a sacred encounter with the 2,000-year-old small-leaved lime coppice at Westonbirt Arboretum. Because of my terrible hunched posture I’m always looking for an opportunity to lie down and alleviate the pain in my back. Because of my great love of trees I am always looking for an opportunity to lie down in a woodland. And because we lost a beloved cousin tragically young this summer, I was also looking for opportunities to be quiet and think of him and have a little cry. This was my moment.

We recently welcomed a puppy to our family, and he has taken a special liking to me because I’m the person who walks him and feeds him; I’m not really a dog person, so he’s made it his personal mission to convert me. I guess it’s working, I love him in a sort of gently revelatory, deeply trying, must-learn-to-be-patient way. He joined me in the ancient green cavern, whining. I don’t like to have my face licked when I’m having a reflective moment. His name is Happy, so if you were passing the lime coppice you would have heard me saying, “No Happy. Fuck’s sake, Happy. Happy, please leave me alone for two seconds.”…