In my opinion, every child should run wild through the woods not just once in their life but as often as possible. The forest connects you to this planet in a way that nothing else does. No carefully designed park or rambunctious indoor gym can compare to the exquisitely complex, living, breathing entity that is the forest. The forest speaks to us in a way few things do on this planet and it would serve us well to learn to listen from an early age, and to keep listening every single day of our lives as we get older.
Lately, however, I’ve been shying away from our woods — or at least the section of it that lies up the hill past the beaver lodge. I’d been shying away from it in part because I knew some new development was going in and they were building new electric towers. I’d been shying away from in it part because I spent my days watching the helicopters fly overhead day after day, dragging long strings of new powercables into place. But mostly I was shying away from it because K came home after a tramp in the woods with his friend S one day and said “Mom, you’re going to hate it when you see it. They cut down everything.”
I was afraid, you see. Afraid to discover that our beloved forest was forever gone. That our loved (and hated) beavers would never again damn up the storm drains and give us a lake, if only temporarily. Afraid that all the wildlife that enriches our lives and encourages us to keep learning about nature would have moved on to more friendly territories.
But the part of the forest closest to us was still intact, and so we gathered up our binoculars and magnifying glasses and bird seed and camera and set off to find what we could find, and to take a peek at what else might be there… and what was already gone.
One of the first things we came across was this lovely little fellow, glowing sweetly in the dim light of the forest:
Just around the corner, we found another sweetly pruple thing… a sweet little chicory with its blunt-tipped petals that look like someone’s had at them with a set of pinking shears. He was in a shaded spot illuminated just perfectly by a shaft of sunlight as if God himself were calling out to us to say “Look over here!”
As we stepped deeper beneath the forest canopy, I felt that familiar sense of peace and wellbeing and wonder that comes with walking in the forest. But really, how can you not feel a sense of wonder when you look up and see things like this:
(You can click on the image to see it full size)
I felt better knowing that much of our woods remained, and that we still had plenty of beauty to explore and play in. But, K was right too, and when we tired of playing down below and headed up the hill, I learned that I had been right to be afraid. I’ll continue this story tomorrow or the next day (since it is Thanksgiving around here, after all, and I have baking that is calling to me) and show you some of the other sights that caught our fancy, and then I’ll show you what we found at the top of the hill that made us so sad before it inspired a whole new world of exploration.
I wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving full of love and laughter, good food to enjoy, and good company to enjoy it with.