Each season, my eyes learn something new. This spring, I learned that the papery leaves on the beech trees that last, miraculously, all winter-- get pushed off by these long spiny spiraled furls of new leaves. The old leaves are parchment. The new ones begin as dark red tips on gray brown twigs.
I walked. I walked in the woods.
In the old days, this would have been nothing to remark on. The walking I mean. The beech leaves would have been worth remarking any day.
But the walking. Remember how i used to walk? I hiked every day, or most days. I spent time outdoors every day. Sometimes in the garden. Sometimes in the hammock. But outside. looking long and far (sky and stars) or close at flowers and roots and dirt.
I walked and breathed fresh air and felt my muscles push me uphill, and slow me down on the descents. I walked and walked and walked.
I have missed it. OH how I have missed it.
Della and I climbed into the thicket beside the big overgrown apple tree, up behind the garage thingy that holds the tools for maintenance here at our apartment building. We made a hole through the branches of the tree, the branches of the bushes next to it, and suddenly were under the tree, a mystical umbrella of branches and sky. Oh loveliness.
Then up behind the tree into the woods. Woods with tiny tiny pinecones. Woods with fallen branches to step over. Woods with fallen leaves. Woods filled with deer poop. Woods that smelled like woods and dirt and life. Up the hill toward the clearning I could feel by the light. And to the edge of the back side of the golf course! What a surprise that was. I did not know that is where this property ended. The rustic local course that feels like it is far away. I realize now, the roads fold back, and the clearing makes sense now that I know it. But it felt like a surprise, like I was expecting sheep up there. Not greens.
We turned back and came downhill again, back under the tree, through the branches, and back into the small slice of grass before the parking lot. It was a small walk, but a very big walk. I spent so much time thinking about it. How the woods have been there much longer than I have lived here (of course), and of course I look at them and look at them and look at them. But then, that day, something shifted. The light maybe. My perspective. The woods, I realized, could be hiked through.... it was like an epiphany. And it felt *possible* for the first time. A walk! Yes, with Della. Yes, holding hands and lifting over logs and under branches, and no don't pick that up it's poo. And yes....
And up there, a beech tree. Parchment leaves littering the ground underneath, with a few still on the branches...and new furled leaves waiting.
Totally gratuitous Della photo and me, smiling, and leaning wayyyyyy over to compensate for the DellaGrande. From friday at my Mom's.