mid day post, January 25, 2018

 

 

I still remember where I left my staff.  I leaned it tall against an old oak near the top of the hill.  That was decades ago.  I was a different man then; less of a believer, but more of a dreamer.  In those days I never planned my walks in the forest.  They were not escapes from any daily grind but simply a part of every day.  The woods were adjacent to my home and in the summer my hours – my days – were open to rambling.  I grew to know those woods in the way that a long-time resident knows his house.  The paths, tunneled over with vines and foliage, were hallways and each opening a room.

I must see it in memory as more colorful, more wonderful than it was at the time, but even then I understood that the woods were inhabited by spirits.  There were spots where farmhouses had once stood, perhaps a hundred years before, straight rows of perennial flowers, a rusted wheel, and here and there one stone cemented to another the evidence of  long-vanished life.  In odd places I found old, wooden trunks, some that hadn’t been opened until I forced the latches.  Inside were books and clothing, sometimes a doll or other toy.

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