On a cold morning when hubby John was off on his own adventures, I was overcome with an urge to take Carter to the forest, and to walk as slowly and exploratively as I wanted. I did not expect nor desire to go far. I simply don’t have the strength yet. So, I grabbed my phone, my walking stick, and my dear walking companion and headed off. Often, I post the photos with brief descriptions on my FB page, but this time, I wanted to go deeper into how I “see” and experience the forest when I am alone.
There is something so special about stepping out of the paved and mowed and sprayed ball park, and putting your feet on dirt and old roots. Silence suddenly surrounds as the tree bark muffles the sounds of cars and and street sounds.
Mostly, I always bring Mazel Tov, too, but he is getting so addlepated, he needs to be watched closely. I didn’t want to focus on him, but on the forest. I was surprised to see that when I walked with no husband and no second dog, Carter kept his attention on me, trotting up ahead a few yards and then turning back to check on me.
Yes, this forest is flooded with ivy, and many of the trees have been overtaken and killed. But many are saved every year. We have a group called “the Ivy League” who voluntarily patrol these woods and on certain times of the year, work to cut the ivy off of the trees, and keep the few trails open.
Many times, I tromped through the ivy to reach a tree I hadn’t “met” before. Look at this beauty! A whole garden of green beings thrive here. I’d love to “wallpaper” my house in slabs of this bark, it is so gorgeous. Look closely as I did, and feel the awe in your heart grow.
Here in the empty parking lot to a local closed lake (where I sneak in all the time), I found this strong, determined bloom. She just made me smile! Here in the worst of winter, this daisy shouts of spring!
I had to get off the path quite a way to meet this fully hollow, fern-topped, ivy-tangled gift to the forest. I’ve written before that a dying tree offers the forest creatures 10-times the benefits of young, thriving trees. The many nooks and hollows, the ferns, the tangles of branches—some possum somewhere has noticed this tree! And I’m positive it’s a squirrel’s cache tree, as there are so many nuts and seeds stashed there.
You all know I am a zealot for mushrooms, and I found this lovely log full of fresh turkey tail mushrooms. These are medicinal powerhouses, but I rarely gather them. I don’t need them, but I get giddy each time I find them.
This is also the time I notice sap drops from many trees. I often collect some of this resin each year. It smells heavenly, it is a fine incense, and a great firestarter. This tree looks like she is making a white lace dress for herself!
I wandered and the only words on my lips where “Thank you.” Just thank you for being, and for showing your beauty to me.
Every journey must come to a stop and mine ended up here with a stone and a few blooming oxeye daisies. I love seeing that in all the brown, dead, compost making stuff, green things are poking through to tease of spring. Thank you for walking with me!