amazing

It had been a long while since I had gone to the woods by myself so I practically ran.

I spent so much time over the holidays inside malls, inside the house, inside the car, doing, doing, doing.  It was time to just “be”.

I took all of these photos on Friday.

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First stop was the chicken coop where I found some eggs.  Walter begged and begged to go on the walk with me but I said “no” right away because I knew (from what Grace had told me) that all he would do is feel lost and scared and meow a lot.  Therefore,  I put the eggs and the cat in the house.

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I’m so thankful to live close to running water.  In fact, I was outside again yesterday in the cold sun, laying back on the frozen ground with my eyes shut, listening to the sound of it.

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The tree I hugged.

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self-portrait

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funny icicles hanging down from a fallen pine tree

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Looks like snow or styrafoam, but it’s really some kind of fungus.

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more pretty pretty fungus on a fallen tree

The sunshine was really lovely to see on this walk, after several gloomy days.

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I am an admirer of ice.

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In fact, I ate a bite of it.  It tasted good, like pine, but later on when I gave some to Sarah she spit it out and said it “tasted like the stench of the forest.”

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As I made my way around to the stream again (the same stream from near our house, only deeper in the woods)  I found that it had flooded the day before, well beyond its banks.  Then, it froze overnight and the next morning when the water started to recede, it left its coat of ice spreading across the ground.

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I stood up on a bank to take this photo, looking down across the ice.  I closed my eyes and could hear it falling and cracking.  It almost sounded like someone else walking throught it in the distance, but I was alone.

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I got as close as I could to the water and sat on a frozen moss covered boulder for a while.

(A good thinking spot.)

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I didn’t see any birds but the closer I got to the field the more I could hear them.

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The trees had sheets of ice hanging off their lower branches.  Sometimes a wind would blow gently through and shake the ice enough to make a sound like soothing wind chimes.

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It was all such a delight and my face was pleasantly cold.  It felt good to BREATHE.

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say over and over again.  Everytime I go outside for a walk I get surprised (and smile a lot) over something in God’s big beautiful world.  Which is why I always take my camera along.

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My heart, mind, and soul go back home refreshed.

“If you have ever gone to the woods with me, I must love you very much.”

~Mary Oliver

 

 

 

lovely things

Jeremiah 32:17   Ah, Lord GOD! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm!  Nothing is too hard for you.

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Lovely things are silent…
Rosebuds waxing bloom,
Shadows stealing softly
In a darkened room;
Dragonfiles on rushes,
Stars in dark blue skies;
Hatching, fuzzy birdlets,
Love in sweethearts’ eyes.

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Lovely things are silent…
Rainbows in the sky,
Violets shedding fragrance,
A soft breeze waltzing by;
An apple tree in blossom,
Sunsets all aglow;
Moonlight on the water,
Falling soft white snow.

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Lovely things are silent…
Foam clouds in the sky,
Hummingbirds at flowers,
Butterflies gliding by.
A spider’s dainty spinning,
Wild flowers on a hill.
I bow my head in silence
And in my heart I’m still.
~Betty Fox Solberg

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The cobwebs look blue in this light.  I’m down on my stomach in the woods to take a picture of a mushroom and I ask God to show me one more thing and I turn my head and see another tiny mushroom pushing up the leaves that I wouldn’t have noticed if I was walking…….

I like this feeling of walking without being in a hurry.  The woods around me are so still.  And I’m becoming still as well……..

I stand in one spot and don’t move anything but my eyes.  

Shanda, July 13, 2018 6:26pm

 

sarah & mom blog post

“Set me a task in which I can put something of my very self,
and it is a task no longer;
it is joy; it is art.”
 Bliss Carman

We went for a walk together in the woods–all her idea–and then I found a paper in her backpack from the field trip she took to a local wildlife sanctuary.

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What did I hear?

“I could hear water, the crunching leaves, and birds chirping.”

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What did I see?

“I saw, trees, and a squirl, and deer poop, and pine cones, and birds, and vernal pools.

fullsizeoutput_5484We found a bone so we slipped it on her “adventure stick.”

What did I smell?

“I could smell skunk cabbage, and a fresh nature smell.”

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How did I feel?

“I felt rain, and the cool air, and the cruching leaves under my feet.”

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beavers near my house

 

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The woods have been extra interesting lately with revived beaver activity near our place.  Did you know that beavers are huge rodents?  Yes indeedy, and they are on my list of “favorite animals”.  How could anyone be afraid of a beaver or upset by a beaver? They are practically harmless.  They’re too busy working to be a bother to anyone.   After you see a photo of a baby beaver you’ll never be the same again.  Those tails!

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Anyone walking on our street could see the new beaver dam that I first noticed last week.  It’s where the stream goes under the road, so obvious.  It must be a favored spot because I remember years ago they made one in the same location, and the town dug it out.  Consequently, if I hear a loud truck these days, I run to the window and look to see if the town is digging the dam out of the stream like they did last time, with my heart filled with fears and woe.  I imagine all the work that the beavers put into their dam, all the gatherings of twigs, branches, grasses, stones, and mud.  Everything gathered and collected by a large rodent!  Imagine!

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Here is the most precious sight; of a lone stone on top of the dam, placed oh so carefully by a beaver.

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Well, and then I discovered ANOTHER ONE, this one is deeper into the woods in a place where no heavy truck or digging equipment can go.  My heart is lighter as I ponder the beavers that live near my house.

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This morning I was cleaning the kitchen and there was a pot of burnt peas in the sink.  They were burnt because Sarah and I were sewing pants for her doll and forgot about the peas.  (True story) So I left them in the sink until this morning, and then I walked them to the chicken coop.  Chickens are partial to burnt peas.  Then I continued on my way, looking at how the ponds were filled up nicely after two days of rain.  When I got to the stream I could hear the beaver again.  Oh joy!  It was about 8 am in the morning.  I rushed to the house to get my camera, a towel to sit upon, a breakfast in a sandwich bag consisting of cheese, raw mushrooms, and trail mix, and I also put on a pair of jeans because I was still in my pajamas.  Then I went down and sat.  Very soon I heard a loud splash and then another one.  Dang, I thought.  There are at least two and they know I’m here.  I sat and sat.  Then, finally my dreams (beaver dreams) came true.  I saw the first one.  I saw the second one.  And then, one more.

The third one allowed me to take its photo.

It was very hard, as it was behind branches and leaves, but I did the best I could.

It was silent the entire time.  Silkily silent.

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“A beaver’s forepaws are quite dexterous.  They can fold individual leaves into their mouths.”  Backyard and Beyond by Edward Duensing

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gliding through the water….see the glimpse of the famous tail?

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I encourage each and every one of you to visit your local library, go to the children’s section, and find every book you can about the beaver and check them out.  Read them this weekend, look at photos that are actually clear and nice, and be amazed by this animal.

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Oh I forgot to mention that this morning I also found their lodge.  It’s by the stream under the old dead pine tree on our property.  The first two beavers I scared ended up swimming toward the lodge and then they dived under the water to “go home and hide”, from me, presumably.

I found the perfect place to sit and stalk them, so conveniently at the bottom of our lawn, on a bank in the briars near the pond.  No one can see me.  I just have to remember to shut the dog in the house or he will stand and bark and scare everything away.

In fact, as I write this, I am filled with longing to throw the computer aside and run back down there.  Typing as fast as I can…….

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After many photo attempts, this one also eventually vanished under the water to the lodge.  “Goodbye for now” I said.  I sat for a little while longer and then got up as I was freezing in certain areas, namely my behind, hands, and nose.  I ended up walking down the edge of the stream, through the woods to the bird forest, through the dam field, into the woods again, across the rushing stream (very exciting) back across the field, down the little dirt road to the main road, and up it to home again.

I finished cleaning my kitchen and then had time to blog.

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I saw this sweet bird and several more just like it.  Autumn is nice because everything is going to seed, there are berries, too, and the bird activity increases as they fly about looking for food.

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See the spot of yellow?

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I discovered a crab apple tree.  They were at the end of their peak but maybe next year I can harvest some and make jelly.  I did eat one. . . . .it was nice and tart.

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reflections in the water

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One last beaver quote:

“When alarmed, a beaver dives under water, its tail slapping the surface as a warning to other beavers.  But in sum, beavers live unhurried lives.”

Ah, we can learn from the beaver, can’t we?