Thursday, October 20, 2022

Quiet Times: Walking on the trails


The forest creates its own sculpture

The air is tinged with autumn

cool wind is blowing

the forest summons

I must go.


Turn right onto the perimeter trail

charmed by little painted rocks

tucked here and there

down the big beech trail

where I linger in fern alley

scan the big trees for beech nuts

then cross the sluggish stream on rocks.


I’m on my way to the sacred circle

which I haven’t seen since April.


The wind blows

the trees sway and creak

crows are raucous today

I pause at the sacred circle then up the hill and left

back onto the perimeter trail.


Pass the concrete chicken

then tread through a conifer stand

steps soft on pine needles and listen

the wind blowing through the pines

is enough to bring me to a standstill

for a moment I am a child again

sitting on a fence-top beneath two big pines.


Now across the old road, and what is THIS?

It is one-two-three seedlings of sassafras!

My great grandmother taught me

three shapes of leaves

roots that make a delicious tea

I have not seen a sassafras in the woods here;

surely there is a big one around


but I cannot find it.


Onward downward I make the turn

cross over the wooden bridge

back up the perimeter trail

pausing to rest on the bench.


As I begin the final uphill stretch

I notice mold around a beech tree

then –

what are those white furry things covering the branch?

Could it be dancing aphids?

They are motionless until I smack the branch with my walking stick

they all start to dance

waving their tiny white furry selves

both fascinating and revolting

so I take a video

and do my own delighted dance

out of the forest.

Did I hear someone ask, "What's a concrete chicken?"