Sunny, dry days grab me by the arm and force me outside...this time for a walk with my neighbor in the woods just to the South of us. I always take my camera...just in case.
The trees around here are dressed with the latest in Winter finery....besides the many varieties of lichen and moss, my favorite are the ferns. They often flow from the tree crotches like green waterfalls, or delicately hang from the branches like Winter scarfs! Nature has dressed the woods so beautifully.
Sometimes the branches are piled with such a myriad of textures that they invoke images of furry creatures who are extending their necks out to see who might be passing!
At other times, broken and downed branches have formed an impenetrable maze that leads us to change our direction. When my two sons were young that often played in these woods and created underground forts and lichen covered roofs. I'm sure that remnants of their play villages still exist down in the hollow where a stream still runs. It was a magical place to be!
Large stumps still exist where loggers from decades ago cut down the tall, majestic Cedars and Fir. Some stumps even retain the axed out niche where the plank board was jammed into the trunk. Now only a few giants remain...and they are impressive. Somehow Nature manages to create compositions that inspire... a branch falling here, moss growing there, decay and new life....all balanced and beautiful.
As we ascend out of the woods and up on an old logging road we meet the distant view of Mt.St.Helens...it's top flattened by the historic eruption back in 1980. It's white coat of snow hides the scars of a violent eruption. We were here then....and witnessed the ash and explosive plumes as they streaked across the sky. Our soil was enriched by that ash, and lingers still in the crevices of our buildings.
The Fir trees at the top of the ridge to our right were thinned, since they weren't large enough for clear cutting. We are thankful for that. Other slopes show signs of new Fir seedlings as they finally reach above the grasses and native vegetation. Another cycle begins.....
And it's time to get out the sketchbook.....