Tag Archives: woods

Woods and the Rising Sun

It’s always a treat to be outside to meet the morning sun. The woods are at their best even for an audience of one. #getoutside. #PhotoPoetry. 

The sun comes up on the woods out behind our house. I can hear the woods come to life, while Black Brook rushes through the ravine below me.

At Peace in the Forest

20160105_132143.jpgI walked in the woods. It was cold. The chill on my face was cold enough for me to notice. I thought that maybe it was cold enough to freeze condensation into my moustache. The snow was hard. It was frozen, molded by the beings that had trodden there before me. My steps were my own, but nearly every one of them landed where another had trod this space recently. My own passage through this place was loud and I wondered who, or what else, knew I was there. I assumed that all animals were keenly aware of my presence. When I stopped to tickle the depths of my throat with the crisp, clean, cold air, I heard nothing else. Save, the fluttering beech nut leaves that clung in the slight winter’s breeze to the twig that gave them life. Now and again I heard the pop of some piece of tree bark that finally succumbed to the temperatures. But for man, I heard nothing. I listened to my heartbeat as my eyes and ears sought out other sounds deep in the forest. The trickle of distant water half covered in ice seemed so loud even when it was still far enough away that I could not see it. The steps I took were in earnest as I couldn’t wait to get to a place where the path ran away to disappear somewhere around the next bend. Finally, after checking a spot along a trail that I had not explored before, I noticed that the foot prints in the snow ended, reversing themselves along the trail as they had entered.20160105_133126.jpg

Ahhh, I looked around and made no haste in determining my new direction. As a matter of fact, I even removed my heavy outer layer of clothing as I had created too much heat on my walk into the woods. I stripped down to my bare back in order to cool down and make sure all layers of my clothing were dry. I was worried that if my shirts were wet, and my pace slowed in the shadows of hills and forest, that I might quickly get too cold. It was only 14°F with a wind chill in the single digits back in the forest. I re-layered, and I wore the heaviest layer like a belt around my waist, because I knew if I was moving, I would be warm enough. I did not want to cut my time short, for there aren’t enough hours available to fully enjoy this landscape already.

Then I decided it would be the tiny deer tracks that I saw, tracks that made the faintest of impressions on the snow dust, like a thin layer of powdered sugar covering the crusted snow, was where I would follow. I walked in the woods. I walked on crusted snow. There were no other foot steps. There was no trail. I followed some animal tracks, but mostly just the lay of the land. The crusted snow was slick in spots but I thought of how much more difficult this walk would be in the summer months of growth. I knelt by a small stream to listen while my eyes searched for each instrument that played such a rhythmic trickle. I looked through the crystal clear sheet of ice and watched the water flow over the bed of the stream. I followed the land and its ease of passage feeling for the contours I would seek if looking at a map of the terrain. I came upon a large wetland that was fed by several small streams, a couple of which I had encountered during my walk. I skirted around the wetland checking the tracks in the snow and noticing the age of the massive fir trees around me. I noticed almost no hard wood trees and figured that the land had been cleared generations before me. Then as the ground rose, away from the water, I noticed a super highway of animal tracks. There were deer, muskrat, turkey, bobcat, coyote, otter, and another bird tracks that I wasn’t sure of. There was probably even more tracks that I missed. But during my time there, only the water, the wind, and I were moving. I stood in silence and let the sun warm my face, as I daydreamed of being there in that spot on some early, early morning to see all the activity connected to the tracks I saw. 20160105_133155.jpg

I listened to the sounds, the silence found in the absence of sound. I talked with my Lord aloud. I figured the nature around me was already familiar with The Lord Almighty, and that it would be just fine to speak aloud. I prayed aloud. I prayed in reverence. I prayed a thankful prayer. I prayed for the vision and attentiveness to notice the awesomeness of the Lord’s works in so many people, places, and things that I encounter every day. I prayed for my Dad, for my whole family, and for many more. I prayed for our leaders to boldly go where true leaders must go. I prayed for God’s direction for them, for me, for my family, for us all. I prayed about a lot of things. I talked openly with God. Finally I prayed for more opportunities to be in such wild and natural places as often as His will would allow. For me, there’s a calming, encompassing, peace and a connection to God that is unmistakable when truly engaged in the forest. For all of life that whisks by us in a blur that seems to be an endless loop at times, I was so grateful for these couple of hours in nature. I knew I had other commitments that I needed to attend to, so I made my way out of the forest, reluctantly returning to reality. As I left the woods and was returning to the places I needed to be, I saw a large, beautiful, wandering coyote going about his or her day. I smiled and I thought, perfect, I am leaving, let the animals return to their business. 20160105_133840.jpg

Where Words Take Me

Keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in a while, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean. – John Muir quoted by Samuel Hall Young in Alaska Days with John Muir (1915) chapter 7
God never made an ugly landscape. All that the sun shines on is beautiful, so long as it is wild.” ~ John Muir
John Muir is on my list of people I would like to have spent time with. Perhaps the only thing more beautiful than his energetic, artistically descriptive words were the scenes he gazed upon. I long for the times I can wander the hills, mountains, and streams to “wash my spirit clean”, and I do.

A view of Eldorado National Forest from Route 50

A view of Eldorado National Forest from Route 50

Quote

I agree Lord Byron

There Is Pleasure In The Pathless Woods

There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more,
From these our interviews, in which I steal
From all I may be, or have been before,
To mingle with the Universe, and feel
What I can ne’er express, yet cannot all conceal.
~ Lord Byron
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Oh if only I could speak so brilliantly and so beautifully. I can say though, that I do feel the same way.
Through me, this chord it does run, in every sense, I can feel
What I can ne’er express, yet cannot all conceal.

 

Image

Natural World

Photography 101.

Trying something a little different. I have hundreds of wildlife photos, but wanted to try another approach. This is looking down an oak tree out behind my house.

Natural World - Oak Tree

Natural World – Oak Tree

Quote

Wooded Place

I wrote this because when I walk these woods my mind is at ease and thoughts flow more easily, carrying their own tune. This little story captures walks in those woods from my own real perspective. Upon seeing the picture, a request for some words came in, so I wrote this after noon.

Wooded Place

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There’s a wooded place where I like to go
I walk this place even in rain and snow

The sounds of this place please my ears
Quiet, or wind, and birds that often appear

Sight lines here exist only from above
Effort required to see the beauty I love

There’s a trail but in places it’s hard to find
I don’t mind if I wander, so does my mind

Then I see some movement freezing my stride
Looking at the brush where grouse go to hide

Without warning a white-tail I barely could see
Bounds through the forest just as easy as could be

I moved slowly through soft, deep snow and growth
The workout was good but the silence I love most

The trail then opens and I glimpsed the sky
A pair of eagles in training caught my eye

The river nearby I spot ducks and a goose
Having left the bog where I’ve seen many a moose

Finishing the loop I see the dash of a bobtail
Gone in a flash I finish this loop of a trail

Returning to the lot where I parked the car
Reality rushed back where it had seemed so far

Wildlife moment

I didn’t get any of this on camera as my camera was outside in my vehicle, but we had a wildlife moment out back this morning. It started with my son spotting an animal at the edge of the yard. He came to me to verify its identity. It was a bobcat. So, the two of us watched the bobcat for a minute or two as it sat quietly, interested in something we couldn’t see in the distance. Then, just like that, the cat disappeared to the woods along the river. Minutes later, our house cat trotted out back, obviously picking up on the scent of the bobcat. As our cat stalked the area where the bobcat had been, his attention was also drawn to the same area that had intrigued the bigger cat. We couldn’t see what the cat was checking out behind a small hill, thick brush, and some young trees. Then charged a doe, snorting and lowering her head. The deer took four or five aggressive steps towards our cat. Now the deer was right behind our deck and our cat had run full speed to our sliding door where I let him in. The deer turned for the woods after noticing me. But, our yard full of clover was too much to resist. The deer sauntered back down the grade to the grass. Meanwhile, our cat was whining incessantly to go back outside, so I let him onto the deck. The cat saw the deer and stayed put behind the deck railing. The deer saw the cat and did an about-face, turning toward the deck and lowering her head again. The deer kept her distance before deciding to gracefully high-tail it back in to the woods, snorting for all to hear along the way. And thus was the start to my day; fifteen minutes of entertainment, just by looking out the window.