Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Into the woods.

There's just something about being in the woods.  At least for me.  I can't think of any other place or situation where time can be so still, and so vibrant, simultaneously.  Trees are such silent sentries.  Standing watch.  Witnessing reality. 

Whenever I get distracted by the daily drudgery of work, tasks, sleep,  I turn to images like the one above.  This is a sunrise taken during the recent deer season in PA.  It was taken with my cell phone, so please excuse the quality.  I haven't really created a habit of carrying my new camera each time I head out.

There's nothing special really happening in the photo.  No deer or turkey feeding through the shot.  No squirrel leaping from tree to tree.  Yet the photo captures a very real moment.  This is sunrise.  This is reality.  The work we do to earn a living is important, because it provides a living.  Yet it is fleeting.  Whether we build something, or sell something, or take care of someone, it is all temporary.  The woods, a sunrise, they are real.  They have born witness to a hundred centuries, and they will bear witness to a hundred more.  Despite our quixotic attempts to reign in mother nature, to sculpt her to our ideas, she will reclaim all.  There is literally nothing we can do, that mother nature will not undo.  Perhaps the damage seems so severe that to our minuscule perception, the damage lasts forever, but we can't conceptualize forever.  Mother nature can, and she will reclaim all.

Again, another cell phone shot.  This was the slope I sat on for the rifle opener.  What you can't see in this picture is the homestead that existed to the left of the frame.  Walking up to it, there is plainly a hole in the ground surrounded by sandstone blocks that at one time made up a basement.  The driveway up to the house exists, but primarily because a logging operation has used it recently.  Without the large blocks and the trail through the woods, you would never know that was a home. 

I love to picture the area when the house was there.  This was someone's home. Someone LOVED living there.  They built it for themselves and they made it a home.  They had memories of births, and deaths, and holidays.  To this day, their is probably a story passed down through multiple generations about Grandma's house on the hill, near French Creek.  And now mother nature has reclaimed the area. 

I never look at this with any morbid fascination.  More just a reminder of what is real in our lives and what is fleeting.  A way to stimulate my mind to remember and appreciate small things.

Directly behind my position on opeing day of deer season a red fox came in to investigate.

Very difficult to see, but there's a reddish orange figure about halfway up the right side of the picture.  Here's a cropped shot zoomed in to highlight the coloring.

Just a fellow hunter, sharing the woods with me for a brief moment in time.  That's the magic of the woods.  That's when I remember that the woods are alive and full of activity.  That our time is fleeting and it's vital to our existence that we witness the small things.

Happy Exploring
Scott M

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