|Oprah May 2012
I can remember tramping through woods as a Girl Scout. I don't know what it was, but it always seemed to be raining. Of course, the trees always protected us from most of the wet. We'd walk and walk and walk. Pick up acorns. Giggle. And long for the hot chocolate at the end of the path. Every girl had brought some sort of chicken based soup ... chicken noodle, chicken and stars, chicken and rice. We'd mix it in a big pot to make a witch's brew. How exotic.
Once in college, I had a friend visiting for Thanksgiving. In the afternoon, before dinner, I thought that it would be a good idea to drive over to the local nature center for a woodsy stroll. Something made me think to park the car outside of the gate ... we were the only people there. Honestly, the paths couldn't have been more than a couple of miles. As we strolled through, it became dark. It may not have been such a good idea after all! We found our way, some how, back to the entrance; and naturally, the gate was locked. The caretaker's light was on, and when we knocked on the door, and he finally answered, he pretty much told us to buzz off.
Did I intend to get locked into a nature center on Thanksgiving day? Oh, probably. I was always up to something and the idea of it seemed romantic ... but romance quickly transformed into panic. How the heck were we going to get out? My friend thought that we should climb the fence, carefully raise our legs over the barbed wire, and then jump down. You've got to be kidding! I was never much of a fence climber as a kid ... didn't think that had changed much since. He was kind enough to recognize this and moved along the fence to find if it lowered at some point .... and it did. Instead of having to climb six feet, circumvent barbed wire, and jump, we had only to climb three feet and .... jump down, and yes, free ourselves. When we walked in the front door once home, no one even thought to ask, oh, where have you two been! I'm not sure that my white blood cells increased in the wood bath!
I do love the woods and spend too little time in them. I like to stand up under trees and look up at the sky through limb and leaf. I've loved the notion that if cut, we count a tree's life by the number of rings its' trunk has. Imagine how many years that a forest holds. Hundreds of trees, hundreds of thousands of years. Thousands of trees, hundreds of thousands ... probably millions of years. No wonder that it has such an affect on a mere mortal who wanders through.