I knew right away it was a magical day in the woods. The gorgeous 50-degree afternoon was accented by a bright blue sky and a soft breeze that sang through the trees.
I saw a trail I’d never seen before, followed it to the edge of the pond and sat for a while. Sat. Quietly. I’d been invite to do so by the turtle who was on the log but disappeared as soon as I sat down. I waited for him to return, but he never did.
So I made my way back down a familiar path until I heard the soft giggle of a hawk landing in a tree just up a hill. I stood silently for five, maybe ten minutes, watching it perched up high. But, when I decided to get a closer look, he took off into the tops of pine trees nearby. As I continued on my way, he flew above me, casting shadows on the path — he was watching me now, and we both knew it.
A squirreled stopped when I called to it, but dropped her acorn from the startle. “Go ahead, go back and get it,” I told her, then stepped gingerly back a few steps to allow safe space. She scurried down the tree, snatched up her meal, then glanced my way as if to say thanks.
A carpenter bee was busily moving about when I came upon her. I watched for a while as she crawled in an out of her burrow – spring cleaning, I wondered?
Walking further and further down the path this way, I could feel peace settle in. If I closed my eyes and breathed, I barely existed – except to feel the breeze on my skin and hear the whisper of trees. My footsteps, my heartbeat, my thoughts were so far away, they sounded hollow and unreal.
From the flirting of birds in the trees to the surprise of late-spring wildflowers come early, the forest was brimming with life and spirit…and suddenly, so was I.
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Photos ©2012, Jen Payne