A Woodlands Easter Morning

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Mist rises from a farmer’s pasture across the street from our gate shortly past sunrise on Easter morning.

A few days ago I almost pulled the plug (again) on this space for sharing. I was feeling inadequate and disconnected; restless and jumpy. I hadn’t been keeping up with what everyone else is (or isn’t) writing. This is a cycle. I recognized it for what it was, and just left things alone. What I mean is, for once in my impetuous blog life, I didn’t screw around with it, and figured time would show me the way. As Mother used to say, “When in doubt, don’t.”  After walking the woods today, I feel incredible gratitude that you are all still there writing, posting, and sharing your photos and your art, and that I am, too. I’m grateful I didn’t touch that delete dial and waited instead for the moment to pass. Thanks for sticking with me.

SUNRISE

I stand at the glass front doors, drink hot coffee from a small clear class mug, and watch a yearling whitetail deer graze alongside three heavy-set, bearded turkeys. I’ve seen this quartet before; sometimes playing a bumptious game, a cross between tag and king of the hill. This morning they simply share a grazing space, a circle of winter-browned turf with a fine growth of bitter weeds and sweet spring grass.  After a time, they wander off into the green clearing to skim seeds from the tall oats, wheat and rye planted last fall.

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This is one of those transitional spring mornings, almost too cool at 7:00 a.m. for short sleeves.  Colors are copper, chartreuse. The dull red of the old tractor, seen from the corner of my eye, tugs. Patched up and limping, it has the heart of a lion, if a tractor might be said to have a heart. Another season, maybe two. And then? There are worse fates than to become an object d’art on the landscape, or taken by vines and nested in by wrens.

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I have looked at the slick advertising purveyed by the developers of created towns for the active near old showing off wide sidewalks, fountain-spouting reclamation ponds disguised as landscaped water features, club houses with gleaming steel mechanical horses, and activities designed to deflect aging minds from the fact they are dying and PDQ. Videos show youthful bodies with well-coiffed gray hair zipping around in electric vehicles. EVs are ever so much more stylish than Golf Carts. They kayak at dawn, run, play all sorts of games, drink wine, dine out, and dance under the stars. Fencing lessons, anyone?

Some days I wonder if we are missing something by walking the same path every day, solo or accompanied only by one another. I laugh typing this. Sounds like something only a fool would say. And yet, I suppose some might wonder at our continual fascination with this leaf, that rough-looking lizard, that lemon yellow flower no bigger than the end of my pinkie; our deep satisfaction with living out of sight of neighbors. Most mornings, I only wonder what lucky star I was born under, to live like this. 

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Red-blanket lichen looks like thick, bright paint on a live oak tree branch, a homily of symbiosis.

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Trees all along the gravel road to the gate seem painted with calligraphic symbols . Come along. This way. This way. Don’t worry. You’re not lost.

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The vine-strangled magnolia we rescued last year is bursting with growth tips all along every branch. I am moved; inspired.

Family’s coming over for supper tonight, so I won’t have time to post the mid-morning walk until late tonight or tomorrow. See you then, and hope you’ve had a good day, too.

Spinal Cord Wearing a Party Hat

I have observed this dying Longleaf pine ever since the top was knocked out of it by Hurricane Ivan in 2004. Watched as the bark cracked and began to slip, as woodpeckers and insects moved in, as pieces broke away and fell to the ground. When I saw it yesterday, it looked like a spinal cord wearing a party hat.