Monday, November 8, 2010

From Beach Walk to Woods Walk

Winter welcomed us home from Florida with daily foretastes of chills to come. Last week was not just parka-with-the-hood-up cold; it was parka-with-the-hood-cinched-tight-around-the-face cold. I found myself thinking:
  • I miss short sleeves and carefree bare feet and sea foam tickling my toes.
  • I miss walking in white, bubbly surf, under green bunches of sea grapes, beneath the surfboard painted with loggerhead turtles hanging above the door of Starbucks.

This week, however, our third(?) Indian summer elbowed winter out of the neighborhood, and I’m not missing Florida’s balmy breezes because we have our own. Besides, today a friend invited me to walk in a forest near her house. Well, her house is near my house, and I couldn’t even imagine what forest she was talking about. So off we trekked across bleached-yellow corn fields and tawny-grassed prairie paths to a stately grove of tall gray trees around a large, sparkling green pond. Although not a majestic sight, its simple beauty, its hiddenness, its stillness made any sound above a whisper seem irreverent. Then God must have thought, “Wait, if you like that scene, I’ll give you more.” A huge deer with antlers (and here, you can tell I’m not a guy because a guy would know the right name for this magnificent creature) emerged from the trees and stood staring at us. Then he trotted along another line of trees, crossed our path, and disappeared into dense underbrush. More hushed moments. I felt as if I’d been given an embarrassing array of gifts. I came home exhilarated and energized enough to clean up the summer garden and ready it to plant garlic and shallots.