Saturday, May 1, 2010

Beltane Wanderings

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. 



  1. What a great way to celebrate Beltane!

    I went for a run in the woods today. I found a new trail - probably a deer trail - that I ran on for awhile. I was a bit tired when I started my run but the forest enlivened me! There were tons of wild leeks in this forest! Lots of interesting wildflowers that I don't know the names of. I could smell the insecticide and pesticide from the nearby cherry orchard. Its required to spray in Michigan and I am sure in other parts because cherries are really difficult to grow organically.

    I too dislike the unnatural state of most of our world that humans have constructed. It is always so disappointing to leave the forest or the lake. The forest is so nice and feels so good on the soul. I noticed that when I drive to the forest and on country roads I am going 55 mph that I have a difficult time going that speed when I drive again after spending some time in the forest. Its because the land slows us down.

    Its rare to find "pure" land. My brother once told me that they leave the "forest-look" near the roads so it looks like a forest. But when you get back in on the two tracks and seasonal roads near state forests trees are cut down. I was able to first witness this a month ago on a hike when my friend and I hiked two-tracks in state forest. They cut down these beautiful pines in select areas way out of the eyes of most people.

    I feel more at home in a forest that anywhere else and I am sure you do too.

  2. Happy Beltane!! :D What a beautiful story! It is so sad that our one world is dying each day! :(

    We went over to one of our favorite parks today (Big Sur) and it was so beautiful! There was a nice breeze and the sun was shining the river was flowing wonderfully! It's almost as if the forest was happy that we where there! I'm so glad that some places in this world that are saved from death.
    love your blog!
    R xx

  3. You should come out west here sometime, you will fall in love with the Pacific Northwest. The Redwood forests are indescribable!

  4. I've got a question about this anti-civilisationimsm stuff.

    What will happen to malaria stricken countries after the coming fall-of-civilisation?

  5. @Anishinaabekwe: It sounds like your Beltane celebrations were similarly wonderful!!

    I've heard the same thing about forests: how they leave a strip along roads, but behind that it's often all cut down...

    Yes. Being in the forest is so soothing to the soul. In Nature is truly where I feel most at home as well!

    @Rhanna: Happy (late) Beltane to you as well! :-) It's lovely to hear how many of us celebrated the day in Nature. :-) And thank you, I'm really glad you like my blog!

    @David: I really want to head out that way sometime! What pictures I've seen of the Redwood forests are simply stunning.

    @Primavera: This post wasn't an argument for my political views. It was an expression of my feelings and emotions, and I don't really feel a need to justify those to you.

  6. @ Idzie: It was just a question, because I'm curious. I also think it's very important. I like your blog alot and agree with much of what you say, but I wanted to enquire about a particular subject- I probably should have phrased it differently or left the question somewhere else. I wasn't trying to make you "justify" your emotions or antagonise you in any way...I'm sorry if it felt confrontational. :S

  7. I've just awarded/tagged you! :))

    love, roch