I couldn’t help myself. The smell of the moist air, the constant song of the peepers, the yellow sunshine breaking through the clouds and the soft warm breeze pulled me out of the studio and into the woods. A small voice tried to keep me in, “you have work to do” but my body wasn’t listening. I found myself lacing up my boots and walking through the pasture with Lenore, the donkeys and sheep following us to the gate that leads into the woods.
I wanted to know what it looked like this time of year, the snow and ice just melted, even in the shady places, but before the woodland wildflowers bloom. I noticed the moss on the fallen trees and rocks was greener and there were tiny leaves peeking out from the ground cover. I saw one red berry hugging the green leaf above it and the brown one below it. In one clearing there was the spine and ribcage of a deer, surrounded by tufts of fur. And just past that I saw the long white tails of a herd of deer running from us. The shallow pond, surrounded by trees, the one I made sure to keep Leonore off of when it was frozen, was deafening from a distance. The closer we got the quieter it became until Lenore waded into it and not a frog made a peep.
When I first went into woods this winter, there was snow on the ground, so I could follow my foot prints back out and not worry about getting lost. But as bad as I am about knowing left from right and north from south, I’m finding I’m getting to know these woods. There are lots of landmarks natural and man-made, stone walls, tree stands, posted signs, the pond and the two giant pines that I walk through to get there. Every season has its positives and negatives for walking in the woods. Today, the brambles haven’t grown up yet and the flying insects haven’t hatched. The small streams are flowing with spring runoff and the areas around them are wet and swampy. Lenore came home damp and muddy and the ticks are out, I already pulled six off of me.
So I’ve seen my woods in the early spring. And now I know each time I walk there it will be more green and lush. I know the brambles will pull at me as I try to avoid them and the mosquitoes and black-flies will will sting and bite me. But there’s more that I don’t know than that I do. And Lenore and I will continue to explore them, grateful to have the woods out our back door.