Jan. 28, 2022
As the Covid viruses rage and mutate while people the world over tire of wearing masks, rebel against distancing, and refuse to concern themselves with others’ safety, I find myself dismayed by humanity’s loss of the Golden Rule, and I head to the woods. I am not the first to do so “when the world is too much with us,” as William Wordsworth phrased it, so I take my path following the wisdom of others throughout the ages who sought Nature in times of turmoil. The mystery of the woods reminds me that God the Creator is still in control, that beauty and love always win the day.
Winter, as I learned last year during Covid, is a unique time to walk the woods. With the leaves gone, each tree becomes vulnerable, exposing its true form in all its vastly odd shapes. Nothing is growing where just short months before there was life, and barren rock formations rise up sharply against an empty space. The birds are quiet; nothing skitters but a lone chipmunk or grey squirrel. The wind whispers itself cold on my face. Yet here I find delight. I find peace. Here I spot the Creator’s whimsy, the Creator’s smile, the chuckle and affirmation, in the midst of a trembling world. Our souls were made for beauty; the Creator knows this, and in the woods, obliges.
Blessings to you ~ Rosemary
The end of January, the weight
of pandemic and politics as heavy
as blizzard snow, I take to the woods,
down an empty path
made by sojourners before me.
The sky, a swath of painted winter blue,
a hard and vivid hue, is canvas to limb
after charcoal limb reaching upwards,
each turn of branch, each sliver of twig,
an intimate etching. A sparse yet green
Resurrection Fern holds tight
in mid-January in a wash
of pale winter sun while
a slender tree stands bare except
for a smattering of Turkey Tail fungi,
fringed in blue and gray, forming
a face on the rutted bark:
two eyes with brows, a nose,
a mouth. I nod and say “hello”
Rounding the corner, I catch sight
of a kissing tree, or so I name it,
where a canker has formed and is
pressed hard against a lichen-
mottled limestone outcrop
in a touch of lips. I turn away
and walk, delighted by icy clusters of
long dagger-like icicles clinging
to the edge of a leaf-littered
ledge in 50-degree weather.
How can this be? A snake-green vine
encircles a tree and climbs upward
in embrace, too realistic to touch.
I step over slender roots scattered
upon the way like skeleton bones,
mindful not to break one. As evening falls,
multitudes of bare branches
in naked vulnerability
shift and weave themselves
into intricate netting that traps
the day’s last pink rays,
while God laughs in the garden
© Rosemary McMahan
4 thoughts on “Wood Walking”
Beautiful imagery and words, Rosemary , each phrase a delight for the soul and a warm hug for my heart!
Thank you 💝
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Thanks much, Basye.
I love the metaphor of the blue sky as canvas and the charcoal etchings of branches. Such a lovely image.
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Thank you, Monique.