The Birthday Hike – Finale

Can you tell I’m stringing this along just have another excuse to take these memories  out and immerse in them again 🙂  I hope you don’t mind humoring me in it.

It is difficult to tear myself away from the old homestead and all of its treasures and imaginings. But I hear the wild turkeys in the distance and there is still so much to see here!  It is still on the cusp of winter and spring, so green is not a very strong presence in the landscape.  Shades of gold are most present, along with browns, grays, and the constant background color of clay, which make the daffs such a strong draw for the eyes.  Dried grasses are always visually appealing to me, and I enjoy their nearly instantaneous response to the smallest of breezes, like they are waiting to be given the chance to move and sway, rather than always standing upright and stoic about things.   But up ahead as I move past the homestead, I see a copse of dark green amid the sea of golden winter grasses.

The curve invites, does it not?

The curve invites, does it not?

Trees that emit scent always thrill me, well, all plants that do really. More than once in the past I’ve come nose-to-hind with a bee or two, grabbing a sniff along a walk.  In the crisp, cool of the day, these white cedars don’t give off the strength of aroma like the reds, but it is like smelling the color green, in a way.  Evergreens remind us that even in winter, all is not monotone and dreary.  The inside of this stand of trees is like entering a sea-glass cathedral.  Light changes, sounds are more muted, and in the shade of these sentinels the ground offers up a miniature flower garden for the myopic.  As I walk among the trees, I discover all kinds of mosses on the ground, clinging to stones and wood as if in a lover’s first embrace.  Looking down gets you in trouble in the city, likely to lead one to bump into another, or come face-to-face with a door opening, a cart, or some other obstacle to skirt.  Looking down in the woods though, often leads to smaller, often overlooked delights.  Such was the case today.  Curly grasses, carpets of green, tiny ferns and miniature flower gardens were waiting for someone to notice them.  Alone in the woods with a camera, I am not shy about getting down on the ground, or laying on my back looking up to get a different perspective, trying to catch the import  or beauty of something that I see that appeals to my mind’s eye.  In crowded places that tends to make people look askance and mutter…

Doesn't look like terribly  much, does it?

Doesn’t look like terribly much, does it?

Here there was a pile of shed limbs, looking possibly like a stopping place for water sloughs during the rush of a heavy rain.  It was a disorganized jumble and amazingly varied.  I studied it a while, wondering if it were an animal shelter of some kind maybe. And then red caught my eye. Red? Here? One thing about the insidious march of time that I really fuss about is the changes in visual acuity.  I’ve been nearly legally blind  in one eye since an eye injury in my youth, finally relieved of glasses when  old enough to properly manage contacts.  Now though, I must carry reading glasses everywhere, and I misplace them also, everywhere.  Down on my knees I drop, fumbling for my glasses in my day pack.  And what a reward!  Maybe lots of people know that moss blooms, but I did not.  Getting eye-level with this tiny garden made me feel like I had dropped into the movie ‘Avatar’ or maybe ‘Fern Gully’.  Tiny, tiny blooms of red and white were every where!

Miniature gardens at our feet

Miniature gardens at our feet

If we miss such tiny delights on a regular basis due to oversight, rushing, busyness, what other things do we overlook as well?  Our lives are no longer structured to take advantage of these types of walks, nor are most of us anywhere near these types of places.  We are consigned to only find pleasure in artificially planted, carefully manicured, created things, and rarely get to see wild beauty unless behind a glass on display.  I think we need this in our souls, in our bodies and minds, an awareness of the extraordinary found  in ordinary things that go on without one whit of involvement on our part.  They are there if we but look.

From the side, you can see the elegant stems of these amazing little flowers, rising up from their mossy beds.

Airy delights

Airy delights

I found other tiny treasures once I began to really look, although I did whack my head on some low-hanging branches from time to time.  I pushed out past the small forestry boundaries into a wide field, seeing another treeline in the distance. I wanted to go further, satisfy my curiosity, but, hopefully there will be other times to do so, and I am the type to sometimes stick things back so that there is something to look forward to at another time and place.

I don’ t know if my next visits to here will have the same impact, as this visit came at a crucial point in my life.  It is the time that I determined that being alone is not the worst thing that can happen.  It is the time that I began seriously thinking of writing as a dream that I will not let go of.  It is the time that I confirmed, yet again, that out from cities, in the country, is where my heart feels naturally open and receptive to all things. My family and other more social creatures of their kind, consider it running away.  For me, I consider it running to…to me.

Having survived many traumas in my life since I was very young – incest, rape, domestic violence, attempted murder and widowhood, I have spent a lot of my life creating an illusion for others to perceive, in order to cover up what I felt were defects within me.  I am a nerdy, bookish introvert in a family full of narcissistic, loud, extroverts.  I am an extremely sensitive person in a group of people who slash with words and mock, slander, tear down and belittle others by ethnicity, religion, even regions where they live.  I am a thinker in a group of doers; the more one does, the better life must be, right?  A striver for simplicity in a group of accumulators.  I am a quasi-liberal in a family of staunch conservatives.  I am a loner in a covey of Quaker parrots.   I care about how people feel, what they think,  in a group that cares about what one wears, drives, looks like and lives in.  And every bit of that is just fine- for them, and for me.  I. Am. Me.   To be a successful person, a valid human being, does not mean that one must reflect what you are raised in.  In fact, for me to be a successful person, I have had to deconstruct nearly everything I learned, saw, absorbed and was told.  I am the one who threw the rock in the glass house, and in doing so, entered a different world by stepping over the shards and looking under and around them.  Yes, you get cut on the pieces left in the frame sometimes.  You discover that the glass provided as much strength to the frame, just as the frame held tightly to the glass.  And once you are outside, you are viewed warily by those clinging to the shards, the splinters and the constraints.

I make mistakes.  I will continue making them, I’m fairly certain, as long as I am breathing 🙂  It’s okay to be fallible. Really. Infallibility is just another part of the illusion-building.  In other words, it is okay to be fully human.  Do be  prepared though, to own the consequences, unforeseeable as they sometimes are.  Do not ever wear the straight-jacket of victimhood.  There is life outside and past every trauma.  Truly.  I know. I live it.

So grab it.  Pursue a dream. Drop one thing that isn’t really you, and feel the expansion in your skin.  And smile, always.



  2 comments for “The Birthday Hike – Finale

  1. Desiree A Cox
    June 6, 2014 at 5:56 PM

    You’re strength is inspirational. And through all of your tragic experiences, you convey a great sense of self and sense of worth. A weaker person may have fallen into victimhood. I love this … “. I. Am. Me.” There’s beauty in the pictures you shared, not everyone can see it, but you do. Follow your dreams.


    • June 6, 2014 at 6:59 PM

      Thank you Desiree! It takes a lot of work, and I have very supportive friends who have been there, and continue to be there, for me. To dreams, for us both 🙂


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