|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.
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.