The Path To And From The Woods

In the past, when I mowed the path to the woods in the spring I was able to walk on it all summer. But this year we had so much rain everything grew lush and quickly.  I knew the Gulley Bridge had fallen in one of the rainstorms, but I had the urge to walk in the Orphaned Woods.

So I put on my muck boots ready to walk through the stream.

But it was the tall grasses and wildflowers that were more prohibitive than the water.  There were no ticks so it was only a matter of pushing through the wild-ness.  Most of the grasses and flowers were taller than me.

Once we got into the woods it was easier walking.

The last time I saw the Gulley Bridge, there was so much water I didn’t know if the wood was washed away or just not visible.  I have plans to fix it with a couple of cinder blocks, a ceramic chimney tile, and two long 2×6’s.

I’ll wait till some of the vegetation dies back so it will be easier to do.

Cozy Mushrooms

I didn’t take a lot of pictures on my walk in the woods today.  But the ones I did take were of mushrooms.   I was drawn to mushrooms and the environment around them.

Here they are….

This one seemed like a balancing act.  The moss-covered rock was jutting out of the ground at one angle and the mushroom at the opposite.

The hole in this fallen log and the mushroom growing in the space under it, reminded me of the caves in the rocks in Bandelier,  NM.

This mushroom was snuggled in the mossy roots of a tree.

Notes From The Woods

The top of a mushroom

The wind flows over my bare arms like cold water.

It’s so thick, if I didn’t know the path so well, I couldn’t find my way.  But there’s the pock-marked beech tree and the run of ferns with an invisible footpath through the middle.

Now the sun and I wish it would rain. Barely visible insects hover under the brim of my hat, fly up my nose, bite me on the back of my neck.

Zinnia knocks the cap off a small yellow mushroom and I wonder who I have stepped on.

A mushroom with an orange suede cap pops up next to a pine seedling.  I think about how they know each other under the ground, and now, for a little while, they are visiting above the ground.

Before I fall I want to be a single pine needle caught on a spider’s silk. Swaying back and forth and back and forth like the slowest pendulum on the slightest clock.  Frist twirling then spinning between moments of stillness.  Swaying and dancing to the birdsong around me.

A Rainy Walk In The Woods

There is dangerous flooding in the towns around us, roads washed out, and homes underwater.  We are fortunate that we haven’t experienced any of that. The rain is supposed to continue through the night and all day tomorrow.

In the woods, the cover of trees kept me mostly dry.  My feet were soaked through my sneakers, but I didn’t mind, I had a dry home to go to.   It was actually cooling like wading in the river.

There were puddles where I’d never seen them before, which Zinnia splashed thought joyfully.

And there were mushrooms…

They broke through the ground pushing last year’s leaves up and out of the way.

They were tiny and dangerously bright in color.

And they were big and feathery.

There were lots of slugs and snails (I was drawn to the “tree” design on her shell)…

…and too many salamanders to count.  This one is next to a puffball.

Ghost pipes were scattered through the woods.  It’s not a mushroom, but a plant that gets its nutrients from the ground, in tree roots and fungi instead of the sun.  This is a picture of the inside of a Ghost Pipe flower.

A Walk In The Woods And The Dangling Slug


A slug exploring turkey feather mushrooms

The woods were fluttering with moths and oozing with slugs.

The path I mowed in the spring to the Gulley Bridge and stone wall, is thick with grasses and bushes taller than me.  I gather the morning’s rain from them as they brush up against me.  My boots sink in mud, wade through fern-covered marsh, soak in the rushing tannin-colored streams.

The woods are dark, wet, and comforting.

I lean my hand on the big old hickory and when I take it away a tiny slug is sliding across my finger.  I place my finger near a small slug traversing a mushroom.   It pulls in its antennas, then reaches them out again, testing my finger.

But the slug decides against it and curls its body under the mushroom instead.

I walk further and there is a  thin slug hanging about an inch and a half long, hanging by its tail from what looks like a spider’s silk.  I think to free it, but then wonder how the slug could have gotten there.

The strand is attached to a low-hanging maple leaf.  I squat resting on my heels and watch as the slug twirls and spirals as it dangles.  I can see that the thread it is hanging from is growing longer, though, like watching a clock,  I can’t see it happening.

And I wonder if the strand isn’t a spider’s but one made by the slug.  A quick way to travel perhaps?

I hold a stick near the slug’s head thinking it may attach itself to it, but instead, it pulls in its antenna and stops descending.

Zinnia is walking under the swaying slug and I think it must be frightened.  So I call the dogs and sit on a log three feet away.  I’ll be still and watch it from a distance, give it space.  I sit for a while, but it doesn’t seem to move. I turn my head for just a moment, and when I look back, the slug and the strand are gone.

I can’t find it on the forest floor.   But it doesn’t matter.

The slug got to where it was going and I got to witness something I’d never seen before.  Something I didn’t even know was a possibility.

Notes From The Woods, The Woodcock and the Hickory

Wild Geranium

The woods welcome me with a green hug, birdsong, and wildflowers.  Grass sprouts like a million fountains, soft and generous,  sprinkled with wild geraniums.

I take a step and a woodcock whistles up to the sky, orange,  bronze, and as shiny as if its feathers are cut from metal.

The old Shagbark Hickory is sprouting leaves. I hold onto the scaly bark, one piece in each hand, and sway back and forth as the wind blows high above me, as if I were a newborn leaf too.

Golden Ragwort

The Back Pasture

A tuft of wool, from Merricat before she was shorn, caught on a Multiflora Rosa growing in the back pasture.

The sheep and donkeys have eaten the grass in the back pasture down to the ground.  I closed the gates and they won’t be going back there until it gets a chance to grow back.

I went looking for the bloodroot flowers that grow along the fence every spring.  But I didn’t see any.  They may have bloomed early this year like many other flowers.  I’m sorry to have missed them.

But I did see the pear tree in full white blossoms.  And for the first time noticed that there are four more pear trees in the woods behind the farm.  I can see them from the farm. I can’t imagine why I never noticed them before.

Blossoming Pear Tree

Back To My Neighbor’s Woods

The underside of a mushroom growing on a tree

No words came to me as I walked through our neighbor’s woods.  I hadn’t been there all winter, but now that the ticks are back, I’m walking their paths again. Much has changed since I was there last.

But much is still the same.

the mushroom tree

I visited with some trees that I consider my old friends.  But I also spotted this dying tree for the first time.  I thought it elegant with the bluish-gray mushroom sprouting from it like umbrellas or skirts.

I must have had sewing on my mind because this tree loaded with a different kind of mushroom made me think of a lacy gown.

Rue Anemone sprouting in the moss growing on the trunk of a tree

I’ve become quite close to these woods and coming back to them is like taking a long deep breath. I settle in, knowing the paths but not deciding which to follow until I get to a crossroads.  The dogs run ahead but I pay little attention to them.  Only when I stop to look more closely at a flower or tree or take a picture,  does Fate circle back and push her face into mine.

I guess to let me know she is still there.

The birds were quiet and these woods have little water the deep I go into them, so there are no frogs either.

But quiet is fine with me. I feel quiet too. Walking slowly, seeing wide, allowing my body blend into the wonders around me.

Full Moon Fiber Art