Sunday, February 18, 2018

Solace in the Outdoors

I have mentioned before that my oldest son is and always has been quite a naturalist.  I always love when he invites me out with him to wander the woods and hunt for reptiles and amphibians.  Spring is in the air here. Salamanders are breeding and snakes are beginning to poke their heads out of their holes and come up to bask a little.

 To find these guys, you have to put on your "snake eyes" and move slow. 

King snake

Ring neck 

Of course, for a lot people, this is NOT a fun way to spend the day.  But my son and I have done this since he was a little boy.

Spotted salamander

3 Lined salamander

I remember when I was a little, the school librarian read our class a book about a girl who sat very still in the woods and little by little animals approached her.   I always wanted to be that girl, and in many ways I was.  Or, I am.

Fire ant hill

I know when I saw Eliza Thornberry on TV, she was exactly the kind of kid I had wanted to be.  The outdoors girl who had adventures and could secretly talk to animals.
In real life, I love to watch insects at their work, or hunt up frogs in the night with a flashlight.  Many times I have pulled off the road to look at a run over snake or fox, or watch a heron stab a lizard on a tree, or a coyote lope across a field. I have chased after hedgehogs under bushes, and sat in my backyard watching as flying squirrels go from tree to tree.
Somehow there is solace in being outdoors.  And these days I need a lot of solace.

Like these daffodils.

Great banks of them were growing in the vicinity of the crumbled foundation of what was once a house some hundred years ago.  The bulbs, carried over time by soil and rain, divided and divided and divided I guess.  So, although the people are long gone, and time has moved on, the flowers proliferate each year, popping up their shoots and showing their bright faces to the early spring sun.

And somehow, that raises my spirits.

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