I knew it would be a magical day in the woods as soon as I turned the corner. There, right near the park entrance, a baby Snapping Turtle was trying to cross the road. I pulled over, helped her to the other side, then made my way to the trailhead.
The sun had just found its place above the tree rise to the east, so the light in the forest was bright and bewitching, casting long shadows here, lighting trees afire there.
Two swans glided slowly near the edge of the pond, mourning, I think. The cygnet I saw two weeks ago has been absent from their side since. There seems to be a lot of that this week — mourning and finding ways to glide softly through.
At the start of the first hill, I startled two courting Pileated Woodpeckers. They continued down the path in front of me, ducking in and out of branches, giggling at each other. A rare and wondrous blessing!
A rustle of leaves from above caught my attention—more amorous intentions from two Cooper’s Hawks flirting with a display of sunlit tail feathers and song.
Nearby and seemingly unimpressed by the all the woods wooing, a Barred Owl sat by herself watching the spectacle. I laughed out loud when she caught me watching her watching them.
As I continued on, the trail became muddy and puddly — at one point, flooded too much to cross. It changed the sound and sense of the woods with rushing water in new places. These new places demanded new paths and direction changes, which always seem so effortless in the woods, so intrinsic.
• • •
©2013, Jen Payne