'Nature's Netsuke' by Angela Ramsell

Imagine a clear blue sky, tall trees swaying rhythmically in a gentle wind, branches gilded by the waning afternoon sun.  A low electric buzz of conversation as groups of people walk under the trees, laden with picnic rugs and freezer boxes holding chilled wine, chicken, spinach leaves, sausages, sour cream, potato skins; palate- tempting food for a picnic at an open-air concert in a large green meadow bordered by exotic trees and flowers.  Feet softly crunch across wood chips releasing a smoky, musty fragrance of pine as we follow the route to Kirstenbosch for a summer Sunday evening concert.
  I’m studying the groups of people with interest trying to work out who is who within each group.  Alan has his eyes down, as always, looking for the interesting piece of wood or stone, or, if on the beach, for the ultimate treasure of the perfect pink shell, coins, cork floats or unusual seaweed.
  He stoops to pick something up and presents me with a wood chip shaped just like a small bird, the knot forming its eye.  I turn it round fascinated by the shape, sniff it entranced by the smell of pine and fresh air.
  ‘It’s definitely a keeper.  Only you would spot it amongst all those small pieces of wood.’
   I tuck it carefully in my bag, taking it out occasionally to look at it.
I still have it 6 years later.  It sits on the bookcase, a small wooden bird, a memento of the last carefree holiday we had together, a reminder of Alan and his pleasure in finding small treasures on the ground.

By Angela Ramsell 2012


©Angela Ramsell

PHOTOGRAPH 'Nature's Netsuke' by Angela Ramsell