A Walk in the Woods

Last post, I promised to include a commentary/observation of an hour or so that I spent stolling through the woods behind my house. For a long time, it was just an aimless collection of fallen leaves and trees, but as I developed a fascination and appreciation for the natural world, it seems to have taken on a new living, breathing character. Relax, and enjoy.

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It’s another warm topless afternoon. Even my pen appreciates the warm spell, exuding her ink with both grace and delight. Some red-tipped grasses detour me away from the brook, but that’s okay. Time is plentiful. I consider sitting on a rock to further inspect the grass, but an army of ants have already laid claim to this one, so I opt for one in the distance. Chipmunks try to chirp through the drone of jets overhead. They bare no politeness, hollering at the jets to quiet down, but to no avail. Woodpeckers join the fight, but with more indifference towards the noise and more desire for delicious insects. I feel the bugs creep along my bare back, hoping they will refrain from gnashing their teeth and gifting me with a venomous sting.

I pause for a moment, simply to watch all the bugs, enchanted by the sun, wake from a winter’s long slumber. Ants, big and small, traverse the rocks and leaves, and just above them, gnats circle about, proudly displaying the sun’s reflection through their wings. Every resident of the forest, from the mighty oaks, bared by the dead of winter, to the common spider, weaving her network of sticky webs, is happy to be outside today.

I push on towards the original destination to examine the deer’s corpse along the brookside.

For every hundred trees standing tall and proud, one has succumb to old age, disease, storm…the forces of nature itself. Some refuse to go down entirely, leaning on their brothers for support, in denial of the fates that lie below them. They will not go down without a fight, even if it means debilitating the lives of the living.

But even so, life wants to be, struggling to survive in the most unlikely of places. A new fern reluctantly pokes through the dead leaves around himself, not yet comfortable enough to unfurl and face the sun. A small divot at the base of a maple forms a swimming pool for fresh larvae. The moisture at her base, a catalyst for the moss, who carpets her westward base. A patch of grass, no more than twenty blades, furtively pokes through between two rocks, utilizing every nutrient in the miniscule patch of soil. But the luckiest creature of all must be the squirrel! Whether in the tops of trees or along the ground, the forest is a playground for this acrobat. No matter where he is going, he skirts about with joy and spryness, and has the luxury of falling asleep every night to the sound of the brook.

The carrion beetles casually continue to chew through the remnants of hide left on the buck’s skull. The bones are strewn about a carpet of fur; the vultures have had little regard during this feast. They lack the elegance of the beetle, who slowly and methodically goes about his work.

The area has a markedly different odor, almost of meat. My writing is interrupted by a visit from a fly, landing on the opposite page. He could fit inside the loop of my “p.”

But what’s this? My wandering eyes lead me to more bones. Two lower jaws laid neatly atop one another, as if placed. I’m so fascinated by them that I nearly overlook the rest of the skull, only a meter away. Another young buck, his fate the same as his brother’s, only a few yards away. But why? Perhaps a place for the predator to drag his kills. Perhaps coincidence.

Somthing is special about this spot. The way that the small brook has uprooted three of the grandest of trees. The two deer, who will never again feel a cool breeze blowing off the water. The new life – what were once threatening prickers are now softended by green buds. And of course, the sound and flow of the water itself. i shall call it Tritagua – the 3 waters.

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