First off, a huge thank you to all who commented on my IWSG post last week. So many thoughtful responses, so much support—I can’t begin to share how much you helped. And there, in the midst of all that encouragement, Misha Gericke said “... Usually the radio silence from your muse means it's time to refill those creative wells of yours. So do some other stuff you never get time for.” Right. Why didn’t I think of that? Because more hours at work, along with life circumstances, have conspired to eliminate much of the time I had up until a year ago, so I haven’t been out doing what I usually do to court inspiration.
Duly reminded by Misha, I strapped on my hiking shoes late Friday afternoon, grabbed the Nikon and took a quick walk through a reservation a few towns over. The place isn’t new to me. I’ve included photos from it on Middle Passages before. But I don’t get there often and it’s just fresh enough for me that my eyes open wide whenever I go.
This time I arrived in the late afternoon, too early for optimum sunset light, but in good time to enter the woods to the squeal and chatter of birds…different from the ones occupying my backyard. Mostly, I’ve walked this place in the fall, so I've never seen the rhododendrons blooming pink along the paths, although they are what I’d expect in early June. Their white-blossomed cousins flowering amidst the deep woods however, were a surprise. Our long winter left its mark on the place, upended trees leaning against others, their root systems creating walls of earth that towered over me, sawdust and stacked logs evidence of recently cleared paths. Emerging into the sun, I made my way to a refurbished boathouse, and breathed deep, watching the lazy river track back to an invisible ocean a few miles away, before heading back through the brush.
We’d had a big rain the day before, and a brook running through the deep woods kept up a running commentary that accompanied my footsteps. I’m not sure I knew that tributary was there before, but its chatter led me to a lone picnic table in a shady glen below the path, green with moss and damp, where vines of poison ivy colored tall tree trunks. The stream rippled and surged through miniature waterfalls as it rushed over stepping stones, and I paused. It’s a place one might encounter a flicker of movement and imagine the presence of a nymph or a water sprite, a leprechaun or a gnome.
The light was kind of flat, the pictures only so-so. But when I climbed back into my car, I understood what’s been missing in my life. Variety. Novelty. Difference.
Perhaps you read my relief in this post. All it took was one walk to feel my mind revving up. I'm thinking the dead battery in there only needs a jump-start, instead of a total replacement.