We can attempt to teach the things that one might imagine the earth would teach us: silence, humility, holiness, connectedness, courtesy, beauty, celebration, giving, restoration, obligation and wildness.
David Orr from "Earth in Mind"

Mar 14, 2008

Inspired Spring

In Trackless Woods
In trackless woods, it puzzled me to find
Four great rock maples seemingly aligned,

As if they had been set out in a row
Before some house a century ago,
To edge the property and lend some shade.

I looked to see if ancient wheels had made

Old ruts to which these trees ran parallel,

But there were none, so far as I could tell-

There's been no roadway.
Not could I find the square

Depression of a cellar anywhere,
And so I tramped on further, to survey

Amazing patterns in a hornbeam spray
Or spirals in a pinecone, under trees

Not subject to our stiff geometries.

- Richard Wilbur

I found this poem cut out and sitting on a table at the cabin last weekend and promptly fell in love with it. I feel like I know the woods that he was walking through, there just down from here by the "dutch gate' where you can follow the trail along the river until it disappears near the old mill ruins. I've spent hundreds of hours in those woods, not just as a child but as an adult as well.

But since we've been back, even though we're out at the cabin often, I haven't had the chance to just walk my woods. There are people to see or small feet to accommodate. When I do find a few moments to myself I am drawn to quiet corners where I can read my book.

Now that Spring is entering the air I think I need to start wandering my woods. There are so many answers there, when you are there alone. When I was in high school and we would come for the weekend I would be full of internal turmoil and bile only walking alone on unseen trails and old dirt roads would soften my emotions. These are woods where time is not constant, hours may pass while walking for a few minutes or on other days I could sit for hours and come back home only twenty minutes later. But they take the time they need to show you what is needed.

When I was young some of what I would see was not there, like the house I spied from my spot on an boulder. In my mind I was sure that there was a house someone else had built on our land (not all of the land I wandered was ours). Not only that but my imagination let me see the limousine and butler of the owner (himself an evil short man with a black trench coat). I ran back to the house as quietly and quickly as I could, telling my father about what I had seen. Together we returned to the spot, but with him there I looked again and we saw the fallen trees (the house and limo) and the dark brush (the butler).

Sitting here I can smell the damp earth and decaying leaves of the spring melt. I know the feeling of the soft ground interrupted occasionally by hidden slabs of ice and spongy bits where the ground becomes more water than mud. I want to be on that tramp where I know that I will come home with wet socks and pockets full of treasures.

1 comment:

paintergirl said...

What a wonderful story. There are so many emotions wrapped up in a place that you frequented as a child and now as an adult. Sometimes the earth changes, sometimes you do-I guess we all do really. Capturing and remembering those peaceful moments in the woods are what life is all about.

I love the poem that was left for you too.

Have a great weekend.