20020311 Woods Walk March 11 2002

Continuing to write for my Cousin Marion, who can no longer walk in the woods. Walk with us.

We scared up a pair of black-colored ducks, with a white ring at the neck, as we came upon our stream, today. They were already in mid-flight, away from us, when we first saw them.

If you walk up on a stream, or to the edge of embankment, of any kind, stop, just before the top, or the edge, and go quietly. Sometimes you will surprise an animal, and miss a chance to see them. Expect a surprise over every hill, in the woods, and look around when you get there, and go quietly.

Our "speed racer" squirrel popped up, as we walked. He just stopped and watched us today, after a short burst of speed. His heart must be going out of "racing," or maybe he is just getting used to us.

Small walks are there for getting used to larger ones. The other day I finally brought out a simple compass, to orient the park to it. The road is North, the body of the park South. I tried several times, to check using my pocket watch to find "due South." Got it wrong, though I won't tell you how.

"Looking it up," I tried it again. If you hold your watch level, and place a small twig on the edge of it, you will cast a shadow. When the shadow of the stick and the hour hand line up, you are have it pointed toward the Sun. Half way between that hour hand and the 12 on the clock dial, is due South. Doesn't work with digitals, at night. That stream bank is still a favorite stop. Today, I noticed a "burnt sienna" color, swirling with a forest green color , in the waters of the "S" curve of our stream. God put them there for a purpose. They are restful in art, and restful in nature.

The tree with the beautiful exposed roots, and the one I guessed to have been about twenty when I was born, turned out to be the same tree. Remembering them, later, I had made them two trees. The LORD set this time aside for me, to sit by my stream, across from my tree, and enjoy Him. Today it was like a person hugging you with such feeling, that you don't want to let go. You know, one of those kind of "healing embraces." It was like that, I did not want to leave the woods.

The woods had a peculiar, unique light to them. The quality of the sunlight is different there. We are expecting rain, and I like to "soak up" outdoors time just before rainy days. Perhaps, to someone else, they would seem cluttered, and dirty. I find a special joy in every rush of unseen wings, and scattering birds that dart away just before you can see them.

Two hawks followed me for a while. One hawk "whistled" so close I thought it was right behind me. Only later did I spot the pair, and source the call. At first, I did not know it was coming from the hawks. Sounds a little like a chirping squirrel, and maybe that is the point, to mimic.

Often, we think of how nice it would be to be on vacation, memorize the day, and try to take it with us. After a lot of effort, when we get out, and unpack, we find the moment is gone, not to return.

This time, during this time, I can immerse in the moment, and finally quiet down, and be at peace. Tomorrow is my 50th birthday, and as a man is judged, I don't have much. Having the LORD, and His peace on me, is the only birthday gift anyone should want. Even so, I bought myself a small skinner, from Old Timer, at a pawn shop, today, though the money worried me. Those older knives often have better metal in them, if you know what to look for. I worked the edge of my "new" old knife on my whet stone, and leather mini-strop, on the walk. If you glue two pieces of craft leather together, with the rough sides out, they will tend to keep each other flat. People are like that, if you bond to them, they sometimes keep you straight.

Meandering around in the woods is a good way to find your heart. May God bless you. - Paul

Addenda: six months ago, I was at work. Seems like a dream. My boss called me on my radio and said to go to my truck and turn it on. He said that terrorists had flown a plane into one of the Twin Towers, in New York, and the Pentagon. I immediately left to buy a portable radio. People were gathered around radios and televisions wherever I went.

As we tried to work, the news that the second tower had fallen came over my portable radio. You don't expect to see grown, tough, rough construction workers with tears in their eyes.