The Wild Way Home – NSSM2020

Guest Post by Sophie Kirtley

Hello, I’m Sophie Kirtley, the author of The Wild Way Home. Come and take a little wander with me to one small corner of our wonderful planet; I’d like to share a special place with you – that place is Mandel Forest, where my new book is set.

Let’s follow the path that leads through the bracken and bindweed, away from the streets and houses until to the very heart of this wood. Here, in the stillness of deep green shadows and dappled yellow sunshine we can hear the rustlings of creatures – deer, rabbits, wood pigeons… and if we listen really carefully we might even hear the softest whisper of a moth opening her wings or a fallen feather landing on leaves. Mandel Forest is like this now; Mandel Forest has been like this for millennia. For a tiny moment, here amongst the trees, let’s just be timeless. Let’s share this place not just with each other, but with all the people who walked these paths before us…people who stood where we stand… yesterday…last week…last year… 10 years ago…100 years ago… 1000 years ago… 10000 years ago.

Wow! That shivery little moment! That was it – the instant that thought first struck me, the thought that we share our planet with everyone who has ever been here, something magical happened – a story-key turned in a lock. And the story that thought unlocked in me was this one – The Wild Way Home – it’s the story of an adventuresome friendship between twelve year old Charlie Merriam and a Stone Age boy called Harby. 

Writing about a friendship between two children who, on the surface, have so little in common  made me think about the things Charlie and Harby do share, the things everyone shares; our shared humanity. No matter who we are on this planet (or when we were on this planet) there really are some universals that transcend all the surface details: the BIG things – birth, death, family, love, but also the SMALL things – like the pure joy of a good giggle or a yummy meal. 

As I researched and wrote The Wild Way Home I felt that in a way I was time-travelling too – exploring a whole new way of looking at our world, through the eyes of Charlie and Harby on their wild adventures through Mandel Forest. 

Thank you for wandering there with me too!  

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