Good afternoon! I'm glad you could make it. Today I'd like to show you a special place. It's a sort of a refuge for the weary; a natural charger of human batteries. I like to go there when the demands of life are closing in, but it's a fine place to visit on any occasion.
It's right that way, just down the path.
Close the door behind you, if you don't mind — thanks.
Now, if you'll just follow me, it's not too far.
Do you see those ferns over there, off to the right? The really dark green ones, I mean. Lush, aren't they? And I've been told this is the only place in the world they still grow naturally. They'll grow as high as your head by the end of the Summer. When I was younger I'd wander through there for hours. Sometimes, after a rain, I'd lie on the damp ground and watch the clouds float by all afternoon.
Watch your head there, the branches hang quite low to the path.
I've always found the woods here fascinating — not far to go now, just over that next rise — there are myriad species. White Ash next to Brown Ponderosa, Elm, and all sorts of wild fruit bearers. But my favorite are these Oaks. The way they spread out their arms it feels like they're holding up the whole of the forest canopy. And on a day like today, with the sun just so, it's as if they have their fingers spread to let the light dance on the floor with the breeze.
That sound? Which one? Ah! You're hearing the Robins. They do seem rather delighted today, don't they? They're probably sharing stories of all the worms they've gorged themselves on after yesterday's rains. Who can blame them?
Now be careful here. The moss on these rocks can be rather slippery. You can use that tree there to steady yourself as you descend. Once we get to the bottom there, the path goes to the right; we've almost arrived. Oh, look, a little garter snake over there in the leaves. You missed it? I'm sorry. Rather dashing fellow, had bright yellow stripes on dow his back.
There. That wasn't so bad, was it? The path is a bit firmer here. Our destination is just ahead, through those trees. Watch your head again, the branches are even lower than they seem at first.
Just follow me through here. It almost looks like a magic portal, doesn't it? I'm not certain it isn't.
Well, what do you think?
Magnificent, isn't it? I don't think I've ever been to a place that felt so much like a room in the forest, the way the trees come together around the edges here, yet the middle remains so open.
See the rock there to the left, that juts out just above the creek? It's the perfect place to take off your shoes and chill your feet on a hot Summer day. The creek is cool year round. And if it's warm enough you might try wading in just there, to the right. See those purple daisies on the bank? A few steps out there's a small depression in the creek bed, perfect when you need a soak.
I don't know if fishing is one of your interests, but you can imagine that this is a good spot. There's never much of anything large in the creek here; it's a bit too shallow for that. But the occasional trout or minnow can be found. If your hands are quick enough I dare say you could pluck them right out of the water, it's clear enough.
There's really nothing you can't do out here. I've brought some paints and a canvas in the past; saw a fox that day, if you can believe it. I couldn't count the words I've written out here. It's just such a good place to sit and think.
Well, anyway, I should probably be going now; life is calling me back. Though, I might stay long enough for a quick dip of the toes.
Oh, if you have time you absolutely must have a look at the rocks on the opposite bank there. I've never seen so many colors of lichen all in one spot. And if you've any interest in coming back with a special someone, you might want to have a look at the hollow behind those vines, between the trees across the creek, just to the left of that White Ash.
Anyway, let me know what you see, won't you? I love to hear about the wildlife, and it seems every time I'm here there's a new botanical discovery in waiting.
No, no need to follow me back. Stay as long as you'd like. Hear the sounds, smell the smells, see all there is to see. Be sure to take a sip, it's like nothing you've had before. Maybe have a nap on the rock there; it's softer than it looks.
Don't worry, the path back is an easy one, you won't miss it.
And if I've gone before you arrive, please leave me a note. I'd love to hear what you found.