UNDULATING IN THE UNDERBRUSH IN THE DANGEROUS WOODS

Doesn’t that sound like some bizarre parallel of life? There you are in your L.L. Bean boots, sprayed head-to-foot with anti-bug glop. You don’t know what’s worse — the big heavy boots with your jeans tucked into the tops, or the slime all over your body.

That anti-bug spray is icky.

But you aren’t going into the woods without it, that for sure. The last time you decided to take a little walk in your own back yard — and much as this seems like a jungle from an old Universal Studios moved (circa early 1950s maybe?), it’s yours. You bought the land. And today, you are going to explore it.

You should have done this early in the spring, before all the clawing blackberry trees were up. Before those wolf spiders were eyeing you from their woodsy nests. Those things are so damned big and while in theory, the worst they can do is bite you — and they aren’t poisonous — you are pretty sure you’re going to have a heart attack if one gets anywhere near you.

Do you need gloves too? Maybe a hat?

It’s 80 degrees and the bug spray is forming rivulets with your own sweat. Grab the camera. Maybe you’ll see something beautiful. Probably not, but who knows? You’ve already met the bobcat and the fisher and the coyotes and the deer. Bunnies and raccoons. Snakes. Lizards. Millions of mice and rude chipmunks.

This was farmland. You know because between the trees, there are stone fences which once defined fields. The farms are 100 years gone. Today, it’s your own backyard. Which you’ve never explored because there’s no path, plenty of thorns, and trillions of mosquitoes.

Finally, you look around: “Who is coming with me?” That’s when you notice that your exploration group are lying on lawn chairs. Drinking coke, beer, and lemonade.

“Too hot,” says Michelle.

“I’m all sweaty in my shorts and tee,” points out your granddaughter. “No way am I wearing all that stuff. Give it up Granny.”

Are they laughing at you? No reason why not because you are laughing at you.

And so another year of non-exploration passes. Whatever lives exist out there shall remain undisturbed by human traffic. If snakes undulate in the undergrowth besides the giant rocks? Go in peace, scaly friends. It’s your world.

Pass the lemonade.

20 thoughts on “UNDULATING IN THE UNDERBRUSH IN THE DANGEROUS WOODS”

    1. There is no path through the woods. The ground is VERY rough. Lots of gullies and rocks and a million blackberry thickets that are evil. It’s why we never get any blackberries. Only the birds are brave enough to go in after them. If you take a very long looping walk, you can get down to the flat part in the middle. I did that once, in the early spring BEFORE the mosquitoes — which was also before the blackberries. It’s just a woods and if the leaves had been on the trees, I would have gotten lost immediately. The only way I could find my way back was to look for the top of the teepee over the trees. It’s not a very civilized woods. Not like Pooh Bear’s woods at all.

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    1. It is beautiful, but better from a distance. Not made for walking. We did want to create a walk, but the ground is so unforgiving, hard, rocky and full of tree roots, we put in a little path near the house and gave up on the rest. Even my granddaughter in her 4-wheeler couldn’t get through. So we can look at it, but we really can’t go there. There’s even a small pond way in the back that I can see in the winter when the sun catches it.

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  1. You could charge entrance fees for tourists and take them on guided walks, give them a questionnaire where they can tick off the various insects they see and the winner can take a spider home. There are untold possibilities. At caterpillar time a competition for who collects the most. I am sure it will overtake Disneyland in popularity.

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    1. It is cool. It is surprisingly rough for a backyard. I think it’s because we’re on a ledge, so right after the the backyard ends, there’s a deep drop. Many creatures live there and they like to visit us, scaring the crap out of us by just showing up. Bobcats like to hang out on our roof, then drop down onto the deck next to you, then take one leap to the lawn … like 30 feet below. MAN those cats can jump! Then there’s the fisher who likes to sunbathe on the lawn and the chipmunks who chitter at us all the time and try to take on the dogs, too. And the wild turkey’s who attack the car. Ah, the country. But you have the glorious sand cranes, so you win!

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        1. The local critters seem to be getting less and less afraid of us. The fishers are really interesting. They look like mink and have a coat like mink and used to be hunted like mink, but in the past decade, they’ve come back to the valley. Ditto American Eagles. The coyotes are about ready to move in with the dogs. They are getting ever more doglike. The bobcats sleep in our shed and under our porch and tease the dogs. I worry most about the raccoons. They are huge and strong and they can easily take down a dog three times their size. Some of the big ones are well over 50 pounds and if they want to soak up a little sun on your lawn, you salute and retreat.

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