Time Shift Burst

This working wood, a man-made world. Sky meets earth, trees reach water. No trimmings, frills, coffee or cake. A place to walk and think among the dark, sinister ditches. Life supporting, flood preventing arteries. Broad, leafy lanes, threading all around.

How England must have looked when William took his throne. No ancient Kings in search of war today. These roads have one true purpose. To transport forestry behemoths, arriving for the cull. A stand of Willow, Oak or Ash may be spared. The lucky few will remain at the end of the day, for now though peace and beauty.

Narrow secret paths winding deep into the far reaches of the forest. Agriculture and industry are never far. A combine, thunders in a field at the edge of the wood and here a small reminder of an industry lost. A capped air vent ‘Property of British Coal’. Few other clues remain but a vast seam of coal lies deep beneath my feet. Work for thousands gone for good. They say the coals still there, some think there’s a plan, a conspiracy. It may be mined again one day.

How much this wood has changed, for half my life I’ve passed this way. This shocks me, my children grown, have children of their own. My dogs have lived entire lifetimes.

Was it so long ago that this was an empty field, having just been felled. Then saplings, young trees and now a thriving wood.

My mind has wandered, I have walked deep within the wood. I’ve reached a path running along a railway line. I hear a train coming out of sight a long way off. Travelling fast and loud along the line. With the beginnings of the roar I stir, it will be here, then gone in seconds.

I need a photograph, to try this new app on my phone ‘time-shift burst’ a hundred frames in seconds. In the time it takes this high-speed train to pass, every frame is captured as the 125 mph monster hurtles by.

Fire the camera a hundred frames gone like a machine gun and there they are on the screen in front of me.

How many thousands of photographs did I take. Why is that one of a train sticking in my mind. A day out walking with my dog in Bishop Wood. Photos off my life from birth to death. As I lay here I swipe through them all. In my thoughts, one frame at a time. Family, friends, young, old, happy and sad. I need one, the final frame. I need just one single shot, delete the rest. Not long now.

My mind is now in time shift burst, backwards, forwards. Speeding faster through the years of my life. I will miss it all of course family, friends, cats and dogs. I am back now in that happy place; the train is disappearing in the distance. Silence returning to this summer woodland a young Labrador bounding along the track. This is it, this is the frame. Time to delete the rest. This is the photograph I wish to keep from my ‘time-shift burst’.

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