Getting lost in a city woods

Today is photo blog Thursday. This week I have a gallery to share, but first a story to go with it.

I wrote this month’s pencast about intimacy with the land while sitting beside the pond imaged below. Then I received a lesson to deepen my own superficial wisdom.

Leaving that place to wander home, I decided to take a different route. An old roadway cuts straight to a big meadow I usually cross. Instead, long before the meadow I turned onto a side trail through the woods. It guided me to a fire pit bearing signs of young people, but beyond that it dwindled.

For a while I followed a deer trail but it became so littered and overgrown I lost it altogether. Meadering around fallen trees and tripping over branches, I considered turning back. Up ahead, a break in the canopy led me hopefully forward. It turned out only to be a glade, and a wet one at that. The ground became swampier with each tree I passed. More light openings seduced me into soggier discouragement.

A moment of real panic came. Stopping, I briefly took stock. I was not really lost; my sense of direction remained intact. I could not be further than 2,000 metres from the closest city street. The worst that could happen was a bad foot soaking. If fear or confusion became too great I could phone Danny.

Meanwhile, I found myself in the midst of an intimate encounter with the Hanlon Creek watershed that stretches behind our house. I ought to take advantage of this beautiful, breezy, mild August morning. That thought calmed me immediately as my relationship with the woods transformed.

I carried on, taking photos as I went. Wood frogs and leopard frogs hopped across my way.

Eventually I reached the wrong side of a familiar stream and balanced my way across a rotten log. Finally the land eased upward to the big, bright meadow. I had managed to enjoy my woodland expedition, but relief came when I reached a genuine footpath again.

Click on the image to view today’s photo gallery, some glimpses of my journey.


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Getting lost in a city woods — 6 Comments

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