You never know

waterfallI can never stay on the edge of a forest. The trees stand here and there alone or in small groups leaving tantalizing spaces that draw my eye in and around them straining to see what might be just beyond. There are dark shaded areas in the thickets – maybe there is a ravine down there. There are bright spots where the sunlight streams down – maybe there is an open meadow through there with deer grazing. Sometimes the trees just seem to go on forever – shelves full of books to read as you walk.

There are sounds in there too. The trees speak as the wind and rain and snow give them voices. A woodpecker hidden somewhere in the leaves raps out a message. Grouse use their wings to drum out a reply. The dry leaves on the forest floor rustle as a squirrel digs for his hidden cache.

So I’m drawn in and then on further just to see what I can see.

SplashOne time I was sitting on a rock next to a laughing waterfall when I was startled by something rushing down the ravine at me. I saw it first out the corner of my eye and just as I looked up a hawk flew right past my face. Then it was gone. The whole thing took just seconds, but the image of that great bird streaking past is frozen in my mind.

One morning I was in the woods photographing some autumn leaves. I had been standing still and quiet for some time as I adjusted this and that on my camera and waited as several long exposures ticked away. As I look through the view finder, I heard something coming up behind me. I turned as a whitetail doe came trotting through the trees right up to me. My sudden movement caught her eye and she froze in her tracks not ten feet away. We stared in surprise at each other for a couple of seconds and then she was off bounding gracefully between the boles of the trees with her tail flying.

I’ve stood still as a stone hardly daring to breath one hot summer’s day while a tiny humming bird in shimmering green and red flitted around me. He was darting back and forth over a running stream dipping his small beak into the water for a cool drink. He must have had a terrible thirst because he would stop, drink, and then fly off to the trees above and just as I was about to move on, he would fly back down for another taste. He did this half a dozen times before he flew away for good. I look for him every time I go back to that spot, but so far no dice.

log endI’ve come across beaver working on their dams and bear running through the trees -coyotes, fox, and giant pileated woodpeckers. All from trying to see what’s just through those trees over there.

You never know what you might see when you leave your car and take to your feet in an open wood.

MDW

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6 Responses to “You never know”

  1. Bernie Kasper Says:

    I love exploring the woods with my camera Mark, with no time or creative restraints, I feel I do my best work then. I love the water images , the play on light and shadows is wonderful.

  2. [jm.n] Says:

    Hope you’ll continue to share your Nature experiences with us; makes me feel I’m there with you! Your pix capture the ephemeral nature of Nature, at just that right moment. :)

  3. ankush Says:

    wow, lovely shots of the water flowing!

  4. fencer Says:

    You live in a really wonderful area with all that nature at hand… enjoy your words and photos.

    Regards

  5. Mark Says:

    I love that line about the shelves of books to read – a great way to look at a walk through the woods. I really enjoy those surprise encounters with wildlife as well where they approach not realizing you are – … a human …

  6. forestrat Says:

    Mark, thanks for stopping by.

    MDW

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