Longleaf Stories

full circle in the hundred acre wood


Cypress Vine, also known as Hummingbird Vine or Star Glory, seen draped over a wild shrub at Longleaf Preserve near Pensacola, Florida on October 12, 2016.

When your palate is jaded because the taste of the world is a mot du jour stuck in your craw whose essence is the gray of ashes, take to the woods if you can. I found comfort there yesterday in padding the soft pine straw trails, nearly walled-in by the oxygen-giving mature forest. And the corroding rust working on my soul was knocked off by a dazzling natural wonder I had never seen before; it was a shimmering ruby jewel lifted to the sun on a fringed necklace. I ran to it, fully engaged, entranced.


The innocence of Good Man Buck and Good Dog Lou setting off on a afternoon’s adventure replaced the disturbing and distressing fun-house media lens with a clear-eyed focus on what had been right in front of me all along. Who could hold onto the mulligrubs in their presence?


The little bird kept a watchful eye as our trio left the house to walk the circuit of fire line roads which would take us from the house to a horseshoe-shaped trail all around a good portion of the perimeter of the property.

Temp in the high 70’s with low humidity and the cloudless sky a crystalline blue. Feel like taking a walk? I promise to be quiet and let you savor, meditate, maybe even heal a little, like I did.














Buck wanted to take my picture standing beside this huge old pine. The ground was so soft under the pine needles I never could get a good footing. I told him later I was afraid there was some critter’s den under my feet and I might fall through at any moment.








Lou was ready to swirl around in the cool spring water at the stream bed by the time we had made the circuit.


And somewhere along the trail I had shucked that backpack full of black thoughts I’ve been carrying around during this election season. Whichever way the presidential election goes, I expect to be spending a lot more time walking the woods. How about you?



7 thoughts on “Mid-October in the Longleaf Woods of Northwest Florida

  1. How lovely! Looks like you and the woods survived the hurricane just fine.


    1. Beth says:

      Brother Matthew went to the opposite coast and never made it into the Gulf. So while others were fearful and suffering, the warm, wet air was sucked away from the panhandle and we experienced crisp, dry days. As Buck says, “The sun don’t shine on the same dog everyday.”


  2. dclaud says:

    Enchanting, Beth. I miss Florida every day of my life, not that NC is shabby. Thanks for refreshing my memory.


    1. Beth says:

      Thank you, David. I understand. Much as I loved living in Western NC, I’m a Florida girl born and bred, and will probably spend my last years walking a beach, maybe living in a funky marina and no longer concerned about too much sun!


  3. Cheryl aka Shaddy says:

    Your way with words is overwhelming in this post.

    Heading to the woods is most definitely a grand way to escape the recent media frenzies.


    1. Beth says:

      Thanks always for your unwavering support and encouragement. You’re a bright light in the world!


  4. Wally Jones says:

    What a refreshing walk! Thank you!

    Sorry to be so late in commenting, but I was out walking in the woods …..

    (There’s an election??)


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