Longleaf Stories

full circle in the hundred acre wood


Something happens to a person when they are walking the deep woods alone. It seems natural to take that fallen feather into your Crest/Listerene/water-pik mouth and take a selfie. A celebration of the primitive, I think, and a passage back into an unedited condition of freedom, a state highly prized. I sweated. I didn’t have on any makeup. I wore yellow spiral bands on my wrists in an effort to keep mosquitoes at bay.

Today was the last day of August, and I wanted to make sure I got out into the woods and made some pictures to document the Seasons at Longleaf Preserve for August. Bagged and tagged, y’all.

Walk with me.


Bird on a wire, a resident dove, watches as I enter the woods. Buck and Lou stayed behind, neither of them very happy about it. Buck understands I need this time, just me and the woods. Lou, no. Just no. She says, “No fair, I want to go.”


Not exactly tough duty to hang out indoors, but a joy to wander.


I don’t know if the red blanket lichen has weakened this grand oak tree, but the fact it has gotten fragile is undeniable. The back of the tree has a hollowed out place that looks very unhealthy. The tree is just at the nexus of the clearing and the woods.


The forest floor has grown soft with shed pine straw. It invites me to follow the path.


Fallen pine cones are everywhere. I pick up the prettiest ones and bring them indoors for baskets and window sills.


Close to the gate there are cascades of scuppernong grape vines. We rarely see mature fruit on the vines; they are eaten quickly by deer and other woodland creatures.


How I love this grand old oak tree. It’s right by the gate, a sentinel of strength and comfort.




American Beautyberry (also known as French Mulberry) come to the fore in late August, their surreal purple berries visually arresting.


So pretty, bright violet in this leafy glade.



You can’t really get a good look of this tree with it’s twisty branches, but I can tell you it reminds me of a Disney tree that comes alive and twists little children up in its long arms. It dances in the moonlight, and I love it.


This is the path I walk every day, lucky me.


My walk was cut short for a few minutes after I lost my phone. It jumped out of my pocket when I bent to take pictures of a flower and as soon as I realized it was missing I went back to the house. Buck and Lou drove me in the truck to the spot near where I was pretty sure I dropped the phone. Using Buck’s phone, I called my cell number and found the phone quickly. In less than 15 minutes, the bottom of the poor sweet phone was covered in ants (you can see one still on the phone). One of them bit Buck.


Lots of wildflowers bust out in September. Clearly, some of them are overachievers and have popped out in late August.

Here are some I saw today:














I saw a couple of pretty pitcher plants today, singled out here for special mention:

P1050240 P1050237 P1050157

The trees are magnificent. There’s a full mix of old growth, planted pines a decade old, and a continuing batch of enthusiastic volunteers.


It was a thrill to be out in the woods today. There’s something that happens when you get out in the woods alone. All your senses kick into gear. It reinvigorates me, mainlines me with nature and shoots pure energy up through the soles of my feet walking the path all the way out the top of my head, shooting beautiful sparks. P1050280

The cloud looks like a big blog of White-Out, but no, it’s just pure cloud.


Fellow travelers, kind enough to share the road with me.







5 thoughts on “City Woman Walks the Woods: August 2016 at Longleaf Preserve

  1. Cheryl aka Shaddy says:

    I loved our walk.


  2. Lovely words and images, Beth. All feels well with your soul.


  3. dclaud says:

    My daughter and I are just back from a sunrise walk along the coast at Cap d’Agde in Southern France but your walk was no less magnificent. Stunning.


  4. phil2bin says:

    Don’t often think of Florida in terms of concrete-free nature. Thanks for the reminder!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Beth says:

      Hi Phil! Yep, we’re in the so-called “Redneck Riviera” of Florida, lots of woods and some of the state’s best beaches, too. Here in the panhandle, we’re much closer to New Orleans than Miami. Nice to hear from you.


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