Into the Woods

into the woods

Some days my son disappears into the woods.

Armed with nothing but his imagination and sense of adventure, he heads into the woods behind my parents’ house, often with his cousins and friends.  He’s done this on gorgeous summer days, drizzly evenings, and crisp snowy mornings.

I’m never exactly sure what he does there, nor do I care to go investigate.  I hear the occasional shout and the hard crack of wood against wood, so I know they’re safe.

The woods are the setting for untold stories, and the fallen trees are material for a fort. The darkness is a filter from the rest of the world.  There is just enough distance between this forest hideaway and the watchful eyes of parents to allow him freedom to invent without boundaries, to play without rules.

I can’t see my son when he’s in the woods, but this is what I know:  I know he is developing his independence, his creativity, and his appreciation for our natural environment.

He may come back to the house bug-bitten, scraped, or splintered, but he comes back happy.

Later…

I got to see the efforts of the boys’ hard work.  They proudly led me through the woods to their fort, and I was so impressed I went back for my phone so I could share what they had built:

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Tiny Acorn

acorn

Maybe it takes a child to find an acorn, but I haven’t seen one since I was young.

We used to go to a cottage in Madran, NB, when I was growing up. Behind the cottage was a woodsy trail. I remember the delight in finding acorns and hazelnuts there. (If memory serves me.)

Now, it is my son who opens the door of our house with this tiny acorn, found below the oak tree in our yard.

Of course, I can’t help but photograph it. It seems as though it should have a face, this little cap-wearing nut.

Fungi

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mushrooms2

mushrooms1

My father found this branch in his yard.

Covered in odd, ruffled mushrooms, it makes an unusual subject for my photography. He knew I’d love it.

My ten-year old son carefully held the branch all the way home, so as not to destroy these strange life forms.

These are a few of the photos I made.

A Frosty Morning

frost-on-table

It was a frosty morning.

Rain fell most of yesterday, and overnight it froze.

When I sat down to eat my breakfast this morning, I noticed these frost patterns on the patio table. I ate as quickly as I could, grabbed my camera, and stepped out to capture some frosty photos before the sun rose over the tree line and melted away the night.

I photographed until my fingers froze, then came in and thawed by the fire.

An Outdoor Afternoon

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It took a bit of convincing to get the kids outside for the afternoon.

Crisp and cool, it was a refreshing late fall afternoon, too beautiful to be spent indoors. After much procrastination (kids’) and frustration (Mom’s), they were dressed and out. It took about two minutes for them to start having fun. Instead of sitting in front of a video game, they built forts, went for a walk in the woods, and played make-believe on the swing set.

Listening to their carefree laughter was the highlight of my day.

Hunting Season

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You’d think, living in Northern New Brunswick, that I’d been hunting before. It was not something we ever did growing up, though, and as an adult I’ve avoided it because of the “ew” factor.

A few years ago, my husband decided to try it. I, however, had no interest in it whatsoever. I did not want to think about those poor animals, let alone have them for supper.

There was one thing, though, that drew me: The outdoors. And so, yesterday I dressed warm with an outer layer of hunter orange (I’ll admit I grumbled a bit at the ugliness of these items!), climbed on the back of the four-wheeler, and headed into the woods.

The quiet, the fresh air, and the friends will draw me back again.

P.S. Happily for me, at least, no animals were harmed on this outing. This, too, makes it more likely that I will go “hunting” again!