A Winter Walk in Schmitz Park

I pause to listen to the soft chattering of Varied Thrush communicating to one another among the forests branches.  Today, their quiet murmurings were added to with a single longer note.

Standing with a certain Cedar friend I listen to the creeks burbling nearby and a wren begins to sing.  Not its full spring song, just a few bars of music, testing its voice for the coming spring.

I notice Salmonberry leaf nodes swelling with the green promise of coming months.

I’m beckoned on to a well known side trail by the soft tapping of a Red-breasted Sapsucker.  I know this bird.  I know its favored tree.  I’ve often watched it work the holes it has tapped, licking up sap and insects, tapping more holes.  As I make my way back towards the sound I notice this area of the forest has been rearranged.  The top of a hemlock has broken off and crashed down onto the forest floor.  I must now step over a portion of it to reach my own dear Hemlock friend that I often sit under.  The Osoberry tree is leaning in a different angle now, bent under the weight of the fallen tree top, one or two of its own branches are broken, but it still swells with green along the branches, still eager to be among the first to leaf out and flower.  I wonder how the bleeding heart plants will handle the mess of greenery and splintered branches now laying over where they rise from the earth each spring.  Will they bloom this year?  One thing I’ve learned about the forest, it always adjusts and makes the most of whatever comes its way and though so much change had happened in this one place, the sapsucker’s habits have not.  There it was still working its favorite cedar tree, red head tapping away.

Walking on I breath in the peace of this special place.  I feel a deep sense of gratitude.  I looked up into the branches over head for a moment then closed my eyes and send my thanks for all the healing, nourishment, inspiration and connection it has offered me.  I feel an embracing energy, like a cool green hug from the forest around me.  It has heard me.  It knows.

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