At around dusk, Emi asked if I wanted to go for a walk in the woods, and of course I said yes. We picked up a friend of hers on the way. It rained this afternoon, and everything had that fresh, sweet smell that you always get after rain in the spring time. The Peepers were deafening as we picked our way through the slick mud, over wet rocks, and through damp grasses, fending off mosquitoes as we went. Emi tried to catch a frog (it was brown, though we're not sure what type it was.) as we wound our way through the flooded areas, looking for peepers and other frogs. We saw the colour of the sky through the trees as the sun set.
When we started walking home, the sun was gone, and it was getting steadily darker. There was enough light to follow the paths through the woods, though. At parts, you could easily see the path, because stretching off on either side of the narrow trail were hundreds upon hundreds of Trilliums, ghostly white in the dark, almost glowing in their paleness.
Whenever we leave the woods, though it's only a straggly bit of what it once was, much smaller even then when I was a young child, it's always a shock. From the soft-cool beauty of the woods, to a harsh suburbia of straight streets, manicured, poisoned lawns, and ostentatious houses. To step directly into that from the forest always rattles me.
The other day, we stood in the cleared patch between strips of trees, the one that's flooded right now because of spring, and is home to a host of amphibians and other wildlife. We looked at the power lines, stretching away as far as the eye could see. That's why there are no trees there, only scrub and marshes. We were watching the sun set, watching the sky turn orange and pink and sunset perfect. "Can you imagine what the view would be like without the power lines?" I said wistfully. "We'll never get to see that." My companion replied with sadness. I told him I wasn't so sure about that. I often wonder if things will start coming down within my lifetime. If things will start shifting and changing in major ways. Sometimes, the idea terrifies me.
...But other times, seeing how much has been destroyed in even my short lifetime, seeing the constant development and destruction, I think the day can't come soon enough! There's a part of me, a big part of me, that just longs for something I've never even experienced: true, old growth forest. Marshes that aren't criss-crossed with paths and tire-tracks and bridges. Streams so clean and fresh and alive that I can stoop down and drink from them when I get thirsty. People think we have a wonderful quality of life, but without that, we really don't. Without a world like that, I'll always feel there's something wrong. Off. It's something constantly niggling at me in some far reach of my mind, something that's only partially soothed by spending time in nearby woods. The patches of woods available to me relax me and delight me. But I'm also always saddened. It's just so little. So polluted, and so fragile. They're still planning on building more. Destroying more of what little we have left...
Still, it smelled wonderful walking home, even once we'd left the softly dripping earthiness that is our tiny forest. And when we stopped outside our house, Emi caught something passing overhead out of the corner of her eye: bats! We figure they're probably nesting in the neighbors tree again. We stood and watched them for a while as they swooped back and forth over our heads, catching bugs, jagged wings outlined against what little light was left in the sky. And I couldn't help but smile, and dance into the house in happiness to tell my mother, whom I knew would be interested.
A good way to celebrate Beltane.