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.

Feather in the Wind

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When I run the third of a mile to the gate for the morning newspaper, as I did this cool morning, the wind in my ears keeps me from hearing an owl in the stream bed, the skitter of squirrels in the scrub oaks, the whoosh of turkey wings when I startle them from their roosts in the trees. But when I poke along in the woods, it’s a mindful walking that takes in all the forest wants to offer. It’s a treasure hunt; an endless buffet for the soul.

March Sunrise

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The Longleaf woods at seven this morning . . . When Maggie and I slipped out of the house at 6:20, it was still cool enough for a light jacket. But by seven, the sun felt as warm as my mug of coffee.

We saw a group of deer from a distance. Amazingly, Maggie stayed on my command, quivering. They spotted us, and moved off toward the woods. There was no flash of white tails. They know our ways. We turned to retrace our steps and left them to their breakfast.

“Gobble gobble gobble gobble gobble! Fantastic. I have seen the wild turkeys and their tracks. But this morning is the first time I have heard them.

Is it any wonder my feet begin to drag when it’s time to return to the house and all those construction workers?

After the Rain

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It rained last night, the kind we call a farmer’s rain, not a frog strangler or a gully washer. It was steady and gentle, a good soaking rain. At 8:30 this morning, when I walked to the gate, a clean mist hung in the woods.

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A pleasant smell of rich earth mingled with wild onion and mint. I developed a hunger for a bowl of taboulleh scooped up with crisp Romaine lettuce leaves. White toadstools with purplish splotches had sprung up beside the dirt road. I found the dotted horsemint again and, after a bit of looking around, discovered an entire colony nearby.

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Due to a trick of light, a spider’s web was completely invisible, and it seems as though she is magically suspended in mid-air.

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I walk this path almost every day, at least once, but the gaudy violet beautyberry clusters which have sprung up seemingly overnight are lovely in the mist. Up close they remind me of the plastic costume jewelry beads worn by a girl I knew in high school named Rhonda.