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
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?"