First night in the woods

Right now I’m lying by a fire. Above me through a gap in the trees, the stars are bright. I’ve burnt some past, and built foundations for some future.

I’m somewhere in Kent, with two friends, ringing the changes. Apart from a sheep that seems to be going completely mental about something there’s no sound but the roar of the fire. I’ll be sleeping by that fire tonight, in my army surplus bivouac. Mosquitoes aren’t really a problem here tonight – there’s not much standing water nearby. It’s a hell of thing, being here though. In the woods. Under the stars.

Jack is with me as I’m writing, the other side of the fire. “I’ll do this later,” I attempt, knowing that I’m growing tired and the eclipse is early tomorrow for ceremonial purposes. “Write your blog. Get it done. I’m happy with that.”

More and more of my friends get it now. This unmonetised constant expression of my thoughts. Thank fuck for that. It’s hard wired. Even out here. And thanks. Without people engaging, as so many of you do unexpectedly through private message knowing how I’m actually pretty private, I’d have stopped ages ago.

But for now, I’m gonna hang out with Jack despite him making room for blogging. I can write this later.

Hello! This is me, later. I think I might have made the right decision with the bivvy by the fire. When I arrived I put my little area a distance from the pit.


That was misguided. It’s not a tent. It’s a canvas bag that’s a tiny bit more waterproof than a sleeping bag. I bought it from army surplus. Jack is in my emergency tent while my festival tent is at the doctor’s until I have new poles. It makes me understand how many weeks of the summer I habitually try to spend camping. But at Festivals – where my time and expenses are compensated. But where they would never let me build a fire like the one that’s just to my right. And if they did they certainly wouldn’t let me sleep by it like this.

I just wandered barefoot over to Jack’s tent after I realised he had left his music on as he slept. It was playing Don Giovanni, Procession. I really really didn’t want to be listening to  electronic music all night. Sure enough, he was dead to the world. I switched it off.

Now it’s just me and the crackle of the fire, the sound of the wind in the trees and the late late night. A little earlier we also had the drunk kids of Kent singing their way past us on the way home all too close. But now, the leaves, the fire, the air and the gently insistent voice of nature. I’ve never slept next to a fire like this, despite having done it a thousand times in books. There’s a patch of sky above that was clear before but now is clouded. I can hear the unfamiliar cries of animals, the road, the sheep, a small private airplane right now at 3am… But mostly I can trick myself into thinking I’m alone, and it can be about me and the wild. It’s better than anything else I could find so quickly. And it’s perfect.

I’m getting back to nature. I’ll lie here another hour as the fire dies and I’ll feel the world. Then I’ll probably catch a couple of hours nap, and back up early.

I spilt Florida water on my bivvy. If ever there was a way to remind myself of intentions set, it’s that smell as I lie here. Aho. Xx






Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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