These Woods


“Through these woods I have walked thousands of times. For many years I felt more at home here than anywhere else, including our own house. Stepping out into the world, into the grass, onto the path, was always a kind of relief. I was not escaping anything. I was returning to the arena of delight. I was stepping across some border. I don’t mean just that the world changed on the other side of the border, but that I did too. Eventually I began to appreciate–I don’t say this lightly–that the great black oaks knew me. I don’t mean they knew me as myself and not another–that kind of individualism was not in the air–but that they recognized and responded to my presence, and to my mood. They began to offer, or I began to feel them offer, their serene greeting. It was like a quick change of temperature, a warm and comfortable flush, faint yet palpable, as I walked toward them and beneath their outflowing branches.”

Mary Oliver, Winter Hours: Prose, Prose Poems, and Poems (1999)img_8397img_8033img_7810img_2040img_4881img_7713
The border, threshold, where it all begins.

All photos mine, taken 2016 on my woodswalks: the woods I have walked thousands of times, and hope to walk thousands more times.


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