The night is already getting dark early.
There is one inhabited house in the centre of the wood. I am ashamed to say I walk past and round it each night. Those who live there don't know I am there. I don't think I have even disturbed the owl who uses their outhouse as a pre-prandial perch.
I don't spend time there. It is just always on the way. Whether I am going up to the pond by the fir trees, through to my own abandoned nook further up the valley slopes, or stopping by that tree to listen to the leaves and the wind and the rain.
This house is the centre of my map as the nights draw in as it never was in high summer. It is situated in a clearing made by its original forester's need for firewood. Two paddocks, a barn in a centre of a circle and around it paths spiral out through the plantation pines. Bracken. Long grass. At one stage, these paths would have had their own centrifugal pull. Now they are almost cosy in the light of a bit of moon.
A nettle patch suggesting the old midden and its nitrates has wilted in the cold of one or two nights although in general it has stayed warm. I see the old owners passing like I knew them.
These paths seems to hold me like a net. And then push me right out of the wood and back here.