Monday, September 6, 2010

Yesterday's woods

I stopped and stared at a pile of scat. Something else was there, but I did not see it for a while. A porcupine's bones. I picked up one piece of vertebrae. The foramen (a fancy word for hole) once held the spinal cord. A sentient being! A little ways away was what was left of the jaw with teeth intact. The teeth were fascinating. They looked like little packets of paper burnt at the edges, only harder (like teeth).

One cedar twisted itself entirely around another tree. Another simply (simply?) twisted up to the sun. They all twist in the same direction. In the southern hemisphere, trees twist in the other direction. I thought of hula hooping. Most of us tend to spin the hoop clockwise. Do folks below the equator tend to spin the other way?

I'm delighted when I have questions like this. I feel grateful I have not lost my almost absurd curiosity.

In the woods, I felt awed, and I'm grateful, too, for that. Once, someone said to me, "Once you've seen one tree, you've seen them all." It was not in jest. Another person said the same thing to me about bald eagles with annoyance when I'd stopped my car to watch one swoop in from the bay.

I'd thought I'd lost all my "firsts" in life, and had been feeling wistful. It is not so. I had never seen a tree scratched by a bear until yesterday , nor had I seen a porcupine's tooth. But even if I had not seen these things, I am never bored by trees or birds or flowers or clouds or even a pile of dung. For this, I suppose I am lucky.

An afterthought: I feel I must have seen a a bear's scratchings before, in the Smoky Mountains certainly. . .but I have forgotten. Recently, someone told me that losing one's memory had a good side - one could re-read one's favorite books and be delighted (or not).


jmcleod76 said...

Sounds like a good time, Julie. Was this near Bethel?

TMC said...

what's up with you, lady? back in ME?

Nika said...

I can't imagine being bored of the woods, I go to the same trail almost every day and I'm not kidding, there's always something new there.
I'd love to read more about your explorations. About the same time last year you wrote about the lake you used to go to, that was great.

Julie H. Rose said...

Yep, back in Maine.

Nika, do you actually remember this, or did you check it out? Either way, I'm amazed!

These woods were nowhere far away or obscure - just twenty five minutes or so inland from the coast.

jmcleod76 said...

Ha! I just realized I'd written "near Bethel" when I meant "near Belfast." Oops. Silly brain already can't keep place names straight. Can't wait for old age ...

Anyway, I agree about nature never getting boring. I've been camping three times this summer (not counting my week in the Barragatos' backyard) and I'm about to go again next week.

Nika said...

Of course, I remember. Is it weird? I really liked it and the computer drawing you did afterwords. I probably don't remember dozens of other posts, but do the ones that strike a cord.

Julie H. Rose said...

Goodness no, it's not "weird", Nika. I just can't imagine that I wrote anything memorable, nor did I remember.