I was engulfed in the sweet smell of wild honeysuckle and then a few minutes later it was gone. I saw giant skunk cabbage in the balmy swampy area and mayapples with small white flowers hiding under their umbrella-like leaves. Dainty white trillium flowers speckled through out the forest floor and matted down brush make a narrow trail where deer must have meandered through. I saw sensitive fern with some coy poison ivy hiding nearby. I quizzed myself on what I could remember. Facts and memories flood back with the sights, sounds, and smells of the lake trail.
I laughed out loud at being startled by the ruckus caused by one tiny chipmunk hopping down a hill of leaves. It's funny how much noise a tiny animal can make, yet a deer can quietly sneak up without ever being noticed. I heard a redwinged blackbird, I saw a garter snake sunning itself, I saw little schools of bluegill darting around by the dock. I saw staghorn sumac. I saw pointed stumps and logs a beaver had downed. I know you can eat the pollen stems of the cattails, I know that plants in the mint family have square stems, I know the sound of a ruffed grouse drumming on a hollow fallen log. I know that sometimes a forest needs fire. I know that everything even the smallest things like ants are important. I know that butterflies can drink blood. I know that dragonflies spend most of their lives as nymphs in the water. I know that poison ivy's oil can linger on your clothes, I know that no one questions if Virginia creeper just needs support or is suffocating the tree it climbs. I know so much about those woods. When I drove back to the city, I remembered I knew nothing here. No one knows me and no one cares what I know. I love my city and the people, I like to exist here, but I don't know how to fit. When I need to remember myself I will always go back to the woods.
|sensitive fern and skunk cabbage|
|weird bowl like fungi I've never seen before|
|an aging pink trillium|