A Walk in the Woods

Believe it or not, there was a time when my John Fluevog-clad feet liked nothing better than to walk in the woods. As a kid, my favorite past-time was to disappear in the wooded area behind our house and travel the forested banks that ran all the way down Northampton Avenue.

As a kid, I was wedded to the forest, and all natural things. Plants and animals, streams and seas, flowers and fossils – they each thrilled me – and while my gaze could be captured by a fancy feather or glittering bead, my heart belonged to what was in my own backyard.

Somewhere along the way, I lost touch of that connection, though threads of it saw me through – gardening, potted plants, a tank of tropical fish – and every once in a while, a glimpse of the sublime. A stream running through the County of Kerry in the Irish countryside ~ a damp, gray afternoon of spotting waterfowl through the fog of Big Sur ~ or a simple walk through the fern-blanketed forests hidden in my hometown.

These photos were taken on a recent trip to Amsterdam, NY to visit my parents. There is a park behind an old elementary school that has trails leading down to a small stream. I used to explore these woods when my brother had baseball practice in the field next to them. (Though I don’t remember all these invasive horsetail plants taking over the watery basin.)

I got turned around only once, for a brief time, though I never felt truly lost – and if I had to I could simply follow the way from which I had come and re-trace steps – instead, I forged ahead and rejoined another trail that led me back to where I began. (The only real danger here would be running into the golf course that borders these woods, i.e. no danger at all.)

Sometimes the simple running of a stream is enough to calm the spirit. I need to remember that more often.

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