A fall that follows a long hot summer produces the most spectacular blaze orange and crimson colors amongst the tree canopies. There’s no escaping its beauty. Old elms arch over city streets littering the sidewalks with reds, yellows, and amber. Scallop-edged crowns of maples, oaks, and birches bunch up along the freeways. It’s a time of year when you don’t have to go looking for nature, as it has already found you.
My grandmother used to love taking walks in the woods. Perhaps it is because she grew up on the wide open prairie, plowed under into farmland. The woods held all sorts of delights, mystery, and adventure. She’d have us kicking through the leaves looking for mushrooms. In the spring the trillium was the first to bloom and later, under very special circumstances, we may find a Jack-in-the-Pauper. Follow a trail after a chipmunk and you may look up to see a doe, frozen in its tracks, hoping you’ll not notice it amongst a stand of popular.
I think my grandmother would have enjoyed this poem by Mary Oliver.
How I Go Into the Woods
by Mary Oliver
Ordinarily I go to the woods alone,
with not a single friend,
for they are all smilers and talkers
and therefore unsuitable.
I don’t really want to be witnessed talking to the catbirds
or hugging the old black oak tree.
I have my ways of praying,
as you no doubt have yours.
Besides, when I am alone
I can become invisible.
I can sit on the top of a dune
as motionless as an uprise of weeds,
until the foxes run by unconcerned.
I can hear the almost unhearable sound of the roses singing.
If you have ever gone to the woods with me,
I must love you very much.