One day about five years ago (2002-ish) I was walking in a wood in Derbyshire with a friend. We weren’t following a path, we were just wandering. The wood wasn’t very large, there didn’t seem much danger of getting lost.
It was a fine day, but the afternoon was drawing on; the evening was clearly going to be a chilly one and we were dressed in light clothes. We had no map but could tell from the position of the sun which direction to head in to get back to the car.
It was odd though: no matter which way we went, the wood seemed to conspire against us, forcing us out of our way. Bramble patches, walls, thickets, streams… all seemed placed to persuade us to go south when we wanted to go north, downhill when we wanted to go up.
And then we stumbled upon a clearing, in which stood a post, about eight foot high. It was surrounded by twigs, stacked around, almost to the top. Scattered about at the foot of the post were more twigs – presumably once part of the structure – that had fallen off.
I picked up a couple of these twigs, thinking to replace them on the top of the pile, but they just crumbled, completely rotten. Whatever this thing was, it had clearly been here for a long time.
Not long afterwards, we found our way out of the wood. We went back another day to try and find the post again, but couldn’t. Perhaps it had simply collapsed.
Whenever I look at the photo I took of it (which at some point got buried in a pile of paperwork and absorbed some of the ink from a sheet it was stacked with, hence the black lines on the image) I can’t help but wonder about who it was who erected this structure, and why.
I imagine that it was one person (or group, perhaps?) who planted the pole in the ground, and also placed the twigs around it. Had they returned to maintain it? Had other people, passing this oddity, come by and replaced fallen twigs, as I had tried to do?
Was it a piece of art? Or a marker – a pet’s grave, perhaps? Buried treasure?