I headed into the woods yesterday. Alone. My husband was sick and after a short visit, the girls had returned to school. The house was too quiet and the day was too beautiful to stay indoors. I drove to a trail head near our house and dove into nature, seeking its comfort, wishing to loose myself in its wonders.
It was a full-on sensory autumnal day. The blustery wind whooshed through the trees, setting leaves dancing and rustling, and acorns periodically rained down, hitting the carpet of leaves with dull thuds. The sun danced through the trees, backlighting vibrant leaves and gilding paths carpeted with amber pine needles. Mushroom and funghi of all shapes and sizes peeked out from between leaves and under fallen logs and climbed the sides of trees.
It was a day for noticing and luxuriating in the small things–the clusters of mushrooms and bright red berries, and the way the golden ferns danced in the breeze. The warm, rich smell of earth and decaying leaves. The leaf rainbow rippling on the water. The chorus of wind-whipped leaves. I was drawn continually off the path to explore just one more scene, to investigate one more shadow. It was literally and figuratively a breath of fresh air and I reveled in it. Finally, feeling rebooted and ready for the week ahead, I turned toward home, once again overwhelmingly thankful to live in such a beautiful place. Sometimes all it takes is a walk in the woods.
Epilogue–As I climbed the hill heading back to my car, I realized I wasn’t alone in the woods. Someone with a quirky sense of humor had nestled this grumpy looking gargoyle in the base of a tree. I’m not sure he is getting as much pleasure from his sylvan home as I did!