When I go into the woods I find I must make a conscious decision to be present. It is easy to just start walking and trample through the grasses and under the trees and never really connect. Sometimes I really need to walk and think. I need to be moving and able to lose myself in thought. I have paths for that. Safe paths that carry me home again even if I don't remember anything I saw on the trip. And then there is walking in the woods. I slow down. I stop and look around. I listen. I breathe in the fragrant woods. Then I walk. Step by step.
The first things that catch my eye are colors that aren't green. Berries are ripening on the forest floor. White and Red Baneberries, pretty much indistingushable the rest of the year are unmistakably either red or white. Raspberries still dangle in thickets. The Solomon's Seal berries are a brown cluster nodding at the end of the stem.
Seed heads are forming on some plants, their petals long dried and gone, while others are just popping out. Yellow loosestrife adds color, with the oxeye daisies and the woodland sunflowers. Bergemont is fading, but the purples are filled in with Giant Blue Hyssop and Heal all. The first asters and goldenrods are just about in bloom.
Some times it is the smell that gets your attention. The pungent odor of some fungi makes you slow down and give a second look. This week I found fungi growing on fungi, as shown in the photo attached. Also worth a trip to the woods is Indian Pipe. If looks like a fungi but is really a plant. It is white because it does not have chlorophyll. When the flower heads are down, they haven't been pollinated. They turn upright and slowly dry out with seeds in the pod at the top of the plant.
So whether it is the sights, sounds or smells that attract you, the woods is full of thing to discover. The nature walk will be on Sunday afternoon at 3, starting at the woodshop.