LONGLEAF STORIES

full circle in the hundred acre wood

Note from July, 2008:  Looks like I will have to recreate the photo albums, then repair the link. It will happen. . . eventually.

Most days are good for a walk in the woods. Usually Maggie accompanies me. She is both a joy and a distraction, sniffing, exploring, and flushing birds, her irrational exuberance a tonic.

But not today. I fed Maggie her breakfast, then sneaked out of the house with my backpack, camera and a soft-boiled plan: to mark the first of each month as a time to walk in the woods early and alone; to look, listen and observe — to learn.

Today was the first such intentional excursion.

I stepped out at 7:25 a.m. and was immediately wrapped in a soft breeze. The temperature was 74 degrees Fahrenheit. Happy and eager, that’s how I felt.

Sounds of the morning: birdsong was the orchestral background, a prima dona mockingbird sang an aria, accompanied by the faraway beeping of a truck backing up, a low-flying helicopter, dogs barking in the distance, the whistle of a morning freight train, and the buzzy drone of a prop plane.

At my feet, a superhighway of animal tracks. I startled a fat whitetail doe at her breakfast. She paused, then turned in my direction, and sniffed the air. Decision made, she leaped for thicker cover, broad white tail flashing, snorting her indignation with the characteristic sound, a cross between a sneeze and a high-pitched asthmatic cough. It echoed through the woods. My cover was blown.

Blazing star with its feathery purple, white round hat-pins on tall skinny stalks ubiquitous in the boggy areas, balduina gracing the up-jumping juvenile longleaf trees, and the last of the muscadines preceding my morning cup of java.

Fabulously lucky I am, to live here in September of 2006, spinning my wireless web, rooted firmly in the woods.

It’s a trip.

Click here to walk with me.

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