"What did I really learn from this trip? That there are beautiful corners of my hometown that I took for granted or perhaps didn't even believe in..."
I've very rarely been back to my hometown of Nuneaton (England) in the last seven years and beyond. Now that I'm back in the UK, and with lockdown still massively hampering what activities are possible, I saw a chance to venture over to Hartshill Hayes (a wooded country park in Nuneaton) to try and capture images of the bluebells while they are still out.
What a nostalgic journey! And that's before I even reached the park. It's funny how you can be away from a place for so long and yet it still feels like home every time you return. No matter how much you thought you loved the place (or not!), home always still feels like home.
Hartshill Hayes conjures up memories of autumn walks searching for squirrels, acorns and conkers amongst the trees and fallen leaves. I took the last parking space in the car park and ventured into the park, past a play area full of children playing in the cool spring sunlight.
Fortunately I'd made it in time to see the bluebells. The dry mud path twisted and turned through the trees and down dips out of sight, surrounded by tall thin trees and scattered bluebells as far as the eye could see. Birds sang somewhere up in the treetops. As I turned to check out the scene, bright sun gleamed through the gaps in the trees so that I had to shield my eyes.
As I wandered around the park, I saw friends out on an afternoon walk, chatting about their work. I saw families having a stroll and discussing the BBQ they were going home to cook later and I saw a group of teenagers sat around chatting on a nearby bench. Everyone was taking the chance for fresh air and escape in these difficult times.
I started to climb a step path back in the direction of my start point when I encountered the view in the photo. The twisted tree branches amongst the bluebells caught my eye and I immediately set up my camera to take the shot. It was a still day and all I could see were bluebells as far as the eye could see. Such beautiful and undisturbed nature, oblivious to the crisis the world currently finds itself in...
I admired the view for a while. The bluebells are only here for a while and this scene would soon change, but the calmness and peace of an afternoon walk in the sun made me feel optimistic for the summer ahead and the chances to do more things, take more pictures, go on holidays, meet new people, travel to The Netherlands again...
But what did I really learn from this trip? That there are beautiful corners of my hometown that I took for granted or perhaps didn't even believe in. As I drove back home through the town, I realised that I am more attached to the place (and indeed grateful for everything it gave me) than I knew. The Hague is wonderful and will always feel like home, but never lose touch with your true home: the place you grew up in.
This picture and others from my shoot that day will soon be in my Woodlands and Countryside gallery 😀👍🏻
Have you returned to a place after many years away? How did it make you feel? Let me know in the comments!