Field Notes: Fall 2020
This morning Asha and I turned down a narrow trail.
This trail is in no hurry as it winds its way between trees, around stone walls, through a spruce grove and across a stream, frequently looping back upon itself.
Today fallen leaves had hidden the trail but I’ve walked it enough to know more or less where it goes.
At one point, as I made a wide loop, I suddenly imagined a person watching from above. What is she doing? Why is she going so far to the left and around when there’s a much shorter and more direct route she could take? this person might have wondered.
And I smiled, knowing although it might not have made sense to anyone else, I knew I was on a path.
“A treasure!” my three-year-old friend Cora exclaims.
She picks up a half-inch hemlock twig and puts her treasure in the small plastic bag her mother had handed me, at Cora’s request, for this very purpose, when Asha and I picked her up to spend time in the woods together. Before long, the bag contains many hemlock twigs, several acorns and handfuls of dried leaves.
To my adult mind, her choices seem random, so I ask, “What makes the twig a treasure?”
“I’m not sure,” she replies with furrowed brows.
Fair enough, I think and hear magic and mystery in the word.
So I lean into Cora’s liberal and exuberant use of the word. Aren’t all the hemlock twigs treasures? Isn’t each acorn, each leaf as precious as the previous one?
Whether she means it this way or not, it feels like the entire woods are encompassed in “treasure.”