About Me

My photo
I am a mother, a teacher, and a nature lover. I grew up on a mountain we called Owls' Knob in the Ozarks of Arkansas. The first seven years of my life were spent living in a log cabin, far from a store or streetlight, without electricity or running water and after twenty years of travel, I returned to the abondoned homestead. Now I live on a hill by a small lake and work at a public garden. These are stories about nature written from a women deeply influenced by place.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Hello Trees!

"Hello tiny flower!"

Last week, Zane and I went many places to admire the colors of autumn's leaves. First we went to the park. There the falling leaves were mostly from Osage Orange trees. My son was more impressed by the huge Osage Oranges fruits than the yellow leaves. He is an observant young boy, and very curious. I stopped often because he was busy examining a stick, tree, bug, or flower. He also took time to say hello to many of these things.

The following day Grand-ma, her friend Zan, Zane, and I went to Yellow Rock at Devils Den state park. The round trip hike is about 3 miles long and it is categorized as moderately difficult trail on the Devils Den website. But Zane is a trooper, so we set off on the hike. At first the rough terrain kept him completely occupied and moving briskly. Every rock was an opportunity to climb a mountain and jump off a cliff. Often he stopped to greet a tree. I am not sure why he has decided he must greet the trees or what makes one tree so inviting while he passes so many others by. I have learned that it is pointless to argue, not worth the fuss. So we waited and watched him as he said hello and good bye to many a tree.

Half way through our journey we rested on a large rock and ate snacks. Then we descended the hill and rounded the mountain towards Yellow Rock. Upon the huge rock, in front of the amazing view, my three year old was not so impressed. A leaf or a tree is tangible, but a view is just vast. He does not recognize the size and scope of an entire valley and the mountains beyond yet. So we only stayed on the rock a short while, before walking back.
On the hike back, Grand-ma had to carry the boy often. As she became tired, she devise a game that encouraged him to walk. Grand-ma and Zane would hurry ahead and hide behind the biggest tree they could find. As we approached, they would jump out and scare us. It delighted the boy and kept him moving. Even after the long hike, the three year old was full of joy and energy. So we went down to the river at the Devil's Den picnic area to let Zane do what he loves most: throwing rocks in the water!

The next day, Grand-ma drove Zane and I out to Owl's Knob for a much needed visit. All summer, during the intense heat and drought, finding the time and energy to go out to Newton County was hard. But the colors of fall lured us deep to the wilderness. We drove out the long way, along highway 16, where the hills were dotted with color and cyclones of yellow leaves circled the car. All day we walked around the mountain. All around the cabin a halo of yellow glowed. Sunbeams turn golden as they were filtered by the wide compound leaves of hickory trees. As I walked through the forest to the north the rock, yellows gave way to deep reds of tupulo trees and joyous oranges of maples. Along the edge of the pond brilliant reds from the sumacs are set off among deep maroons of water logged sweet gums. I took a stroll down the long driveway and collected leaves. My favorites were oaks and maples that had just been touched with hues of red, as if fairies had come a painted their tips on the night. 
When the day was done, we said good bye to Owl's Knob. Zane said good bye to the trees.

Perhaps there is something to learn from the boy who talks to trees. I am not saying we should all go out and literally speak to trees, but maybe we would all feel better if we took the time to stop and silently greet the world around us, understanding and appericating it better in the end.  

"Hello, tree... Good bye, tree!"

No comments:

Post a Comment