We’re walking through the forest,
And looking at the trees.
I hope the ticks don’t bite me,
Cause I don’t want Lyme disease.
– Anonymous 10 year old fellow hiker
We’ve been hiking our kids through the woods since before they could walk. Some of our most enjoyable strolls occurred when they were toddlers, close to the ground and prone to flop down and pick up all manner of flora and fauna.
What treasures we dragged home! Sticks, feathers, pinecones, flowers, leaves and rocks. Lots and lots of ‘special’ rocks.
These days we proceed at a faster pace, and I carry only water and a camera. A new sign greeted us at a favorite trail this weekend, sporting emphatic warnings about the potential to contract Lyme disease. Although some of us were more wary than others, we trekked on while chanting
Grace’s an anonymous fellow hiker’s magical anti-tick spell.
I stopped often to listen, look and snap photos. The sunlight was ever so slightly filtered by the bare but budding trees. The forest floor was coming alive with neon green skunk cabbage, Solomon seal, and fiddlehead ferns. We found a gloriously arched mossy stump that surely must be a fairy cathedral.
If you can’t get out for a hike on this lovely May Day, perhaps you might enjoy reading about nature. I have three recommendations:
Adam Frank (NPR) offers a brief essay called How to Take A Walk in the Woods in which he writes, “Refining our capacity to notice is an act of reverence that we can bring to everywhere and everywhen.”
From the U.S. Forest Service, a new picture book entitled “Why Would Anyone Cut A Tree Down” written by Roberta Burzynski and illustrated by Juliette Watts is available to read online. Don’t miss Juliette’s beautiful work! She is a scientific illustrator with the U.S. Forest Service and has been illustrating professionally for more than 30 years.
And last, get thyself a copy of the incomparable Amy Ludwig VanDerwater’s lovely poetry book, Forest Has a Song (Clarion, 2013). Even indoors, the beautiful poems will transport you into woodsy state of mind.