The Orphaned Woods, A Welcoming House


The Orphaned Woods are thick and green now.  As I walked over the fallen rocks through the hole in the stone wall that leads into the woods, I felt more than ever like I was ascending the stoop to a good friend’s house.

The Japanese Honeysuckle and low-hanging tree limbs, thick with leaves, create small spaces like rooms.  Some of them are cluttered, others, inviting but too small for me to enter.  There are doorways everywhere, some arched, thin trees bent, or bushes high enough to walk under if I duck low enough.

Unlike in the winter when looking up the bare bark of a tree leads to sky,  now there’s a ceiling.  Dense green leaves, constantly shifting even if there is no wind, dance between sunlight and shadow.

There’s a green carpet too.  In some places, it’s tall soft grass, a woodland lawn. But mostly it’s a mix of so many different plants, young trees, and wildflowers. In other places, there is no green, but the thick brown and gray layer of last year’s leaves.

Walking through the woods, I feel like I’m walking in someone’s busy house, where the parents are too engrossed in their own work to deal with the kids who are running wild.  It’s a house that I’m comfortable enough to drop in on without phoning first.

A house that I always feel welcome in, where I belong.


Columbine, one of the many wildflowers growing in the woods.
A mushroom the size of a dinner plate sprouting from a dead tree.

14 thoughts on “The Orphaned Woods, A Welcoming House

  1. Your woods are a lovely serene place! I love the smells of the woods and I miss wandering the forest of my childhood, but the high plains desert has a beauty of its own that I have come to appreciate. We have had more rain than usual this spring so the cactus blossoms should be especially colorful. Thank you for all of your beautiful photos!

  2. Oh, Maria! How beautiful! Your house imagery rings so true! Thank you for a lovely word picture, plus the photos!

  3. I just finished reading Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest, by Suzanne Simard. Her writing style is not my favorite but her discoveries (over many years) of the connections between trees and mushrooms, is nothing short of astounding. I will definitely need to reread this book.

    Your entry today and the beautiful mushroom you pictured, are incredible evidence of her scientific findings about the relationships among the all living and decaying parts of our woods and forests, and how they are communicating. Truly, someone’s “busy house!” After reading her book I just want to go outside and sit quietly and listen. Hopefully her findings will help to alter commercial management (mismanagement) of Earth, before it is too late. Mother Earth is trying so hard to heal herself from what we humans are doing.

    1. I’m reading Finding the Mother Tree now Barbara. I was actually surprised at how readable it is. I actually like how her stories bring me along to her discoveries. I was concerned when I heard an interview with her it might be more academic, which I have a hard time with. Either way, I like you am captivated by what she has found. And I like the idea of just going outside and listening.

  4. Yes, I love that the woods are “a house that I’m comfortable enough to drop in on without phoning first”! And you never know who might be home; my local reservoir’s resident pair of mute swans just paraded their five (!) fluffy new cygnets! Sooo cute with their tiny little spinning swims, and huddled so close together and to mom, that it was hard to get an accurate count at first. Precious!

  5. I have been seeing jack-in-the-pulpits recently in my woods and they bring me back to my childhood when I sought them out. now I wonder if i can spot a lady’s slipper.
    happy trails,

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