Want to Hole Up…

OK, it’s just a bit after five pm, and i’m tired. We went for a walk in the woods, Brian and I and four kids, down in the state park down the road, and the girl in our group chatted and chattered the whole way. Brian and I are exhausted just from the four of them — they’re so antsy, it’s ridiculous. They really want to be out in the woods, they say, and yet they don’t want to stop and listen to the birds, or look for them.

While waiting for the one with the screwy leg, I heard a chirping sound, and following it, found myself under a hemlock tree. Looking up, I discovered the chirping was coming not from a bird, but a squirrel. The creature had scampered up the tree with an acorn in its mouth, and then turned, and was staring down the trunk right into my eyes. Its forearms were trembling with the effort of holding itself there, and its big bushy tail lay down flat against the trunk. The squirrel was not far up the trunk, maybe half again as far up as I could reach, but I could see its claws gripping the bark, and the different shades of gray to brown around its eyes. Tired of looking at me, it climbed out onto the broken stump of a branch, and sat there to eat its nut, occasionally looking down. Apparently it wanted to know if I’d left yet. Bits of the acorn drifted down out of the tree, and I moved my head out of the way of the falling debris. Not much debris, pieces about the size and weight of cornflakes — they vanished into the detritus on the floor of the forest.

Yesterday we saw a maple and an elm just by the red trail whose trunks had grown together. The two trees were solidly joined, siamese twins in hardwood. And I heard and saw a grouse of some sort, a ways off, by a stream in the state park. I think it was a grouse. A big heavy bird. Brian has been teaching me my trees. I’m getting to the point where I can recognize maples easily enough, and oaks, and ashes, and hickory. Beeches and Birches, the different types, are going to be tough for a while. Time to get out Reverence for Wood by Eric Sloane, and start working on that stuff again.

is in theory coming tomorrow. So… directions. Directions got removed.

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