Saturday, May 17, 2014

The Perfect Mother's Day

I was very excited to spy this guy!


When I read Where the Red Fern Grows I couldn't believe there were places ferns grew wild.
Every time I see them now, it seems a little miracle.

While some may prefer breakfast in bed, or going out to brunch for a mother's day gift, when my boy suggested we go for a hike, I was thrilled!  I had dog-eared some pages in my hiking books so long ago I had forgotten why I had marked them, so I paged back through and made a few haphazard projections about where to go.  I was too tired and busy to plan well.  How about this one, I said, or this?  Ultimately taking a gamble on the smaller one the afternoon we set out.

I feared it would be a dull little path, or worse, one that led to a view overlooking a highway.  Having been raised in the wilds of the American west, I realize I carry maybe too much scorn for what the Southeast has to offer in the way of wilderness.  But this day, I was not disappointed!

The trail was diverse and the company ace.  We all like a meandering pace, one that allows us to turn over stones and peer at small flowers and insects.  We spied a kingfisher early on, a teenie baby snapping turtle, bright exotic dung beetles, salamanders, and something I think was a wild orchid.  We joked and told stories.  And once, when I was by myself in shade so heavy it felt like nighttime, I got that creepy woods feeling of being watched, something I remember from many hikes I took as a child.  We used to scare each other then, with talks of bears or wildcats or escaped lunatics.

I think though, that it may be just the souls of the forest life itself.  Not to get all New Age-y--but someone somewhere said that the earth is an Indian thing.  I don't mean to say I understand what that means exactly, but somehow, to me, it is about the trees and rocks and winds in the woods having souls.  Maybe those eerie moments in a woods have something to do with our mortal brevity in the face of the earth's--or nature's--connection with inconceivable time.  I mean, look at the stones in the river.  How old are they?  When did they last move?

Time in the woods gets me thinking like this.  Which is a good. 

I kept thinking all day how much my boys were enjoying themselves, how my oldest one had suggested this, how his girl friend too was keen on the outdoors--and I felt content.  One of my goals as a mother was to give my children the gift of the world--the beauty of the world.  And you know, as a mother, you show your kids the things you value and love, and you hope they will take a little something from it and carry it into their lives--and often you'll never know. But that day I realized that they'd gotten what I'd given, and that was really, the best mother's day--the best every day--gift of all.


  1. This is such a lovely post, photos and words both. That tadpole shot is amazing! And I love the one with heads being dunked into the running water. The woods look like a true "forest primeval".

    Isn't that creepy feeling called Panic fear (after the god Pan)? The last time I flew to California I looked down from the plane window at the Rockies, and the trees that covered their slopes, and shivered to think that a person could be lost there for days and weeks and possibly forever. There was something so massive and uncaring and menacingly still about those mountains and trees. (Not uncaring, exactly, but simply not concerned with puny humanity.) Even from tens of thousands of feet in the air the creepy woods feeling came through.

    Sounds like you had the perfect Mother's Day. :)

  2. What a wonderful post. I loved taking the hike with you, you have some beautiful scenery where you are. I remember many family weekend walks through woodland as a child and that spooky feeling you got in shady areas - my sisters and I would scare ourselves stupid. I am so glad that your children have inherited your love of the outdoors, what a perfect mother's day gift. x