I rarely go walking. I find it burdensome to walk around town with children in tow. Half the time, I am dodging traffic and the other half, keeping rowdy children safe. There is no time to stop and enjoy the scenery, if there is any. I cannot walk at my own pace.
But we are presently in Maine visiting relatives. Where we are are woods and the quiet of a rural life. I have often lamented how I have not seen much of the area, much less of Maine, while we are visiting. Most of the time, I am stuck indoors caring for a young child while the rest of the family play and do errands in the yard or better yet in the nearest town. Sightseeing is a rarer than rare event because most of our vacation time is dedicated to house maintenance and other projects that my in-laws had set aside for my husband to do or help with.
But mornings have been different lately. My baby is old enough to be left in the care of my husband without him starving to death because Mama is not around to nurse him. On many other mornings, I have seen the sun filter through trees, ravens caw on the branches, wild turkey roam in the yard. I wanted a piece of the action. I wanted to chance to be outdoors, have some quiet time, before the rest of the family get busy.
“Take care of the baby, will you?” I asked my husband one morning while I gathered my camera. Then, I dashed off into the dewy grass towards the path to the woods. I came to a mossy patch of ground, looked down, and saw a couple of toadstools that had just peeked out of the ground along with slug-eaten mushrooms. I heard a squawking in the distance and had a glimpse of a family of wild turkey in the nearby graveyard. I tried to chase them but they quickly disappeared behind the trees. I paused under the trees and admired the sun filtering through the pine needles.
Soon, I was following the long abandoned Old Town Farm Road, so named for the farm that the village had once set aside for its poorer residents. I walked mindful of the loose rocks on the ground, listening to the chirping of birds inside the forest, savoring the cool touch of breeze on my skin. A rustle in the woods startled me. I looked around and saw a tiny chipmunk peering at me at promptly skittering behind tree roots when I raised my camera for a picture.
Walking alone was a bit unnerving. I did not know what would meet me as I went along. Would there be a menacing bear, or a moose, or a murderer on the loose? Nobody would hear me if I screamed. I continued anyway hoping I would chance upon some wildlife, perhaps a deer, standing at the edge of the woods. After all, they have often visited my in-laws backyard and left a trail of destruction.
I followed the hilly road, mindful of the loose rocks covering the path. After a mile and a half or so of walking, I reached the end of the road atop a hill full of goldenrods, brown-eyed susans, and white daisies, among others, growing among the trees and wild bush. The sun was still low enough to cast shadows on the grass and on the ground. I wondered if I would go inside the meadow and thought of the deer ticks that could be on the grass.
Alas, no deer crossed my path, there was no scary bear either. However, I noticed a bunny concealed in the shadow of the tall grass and did get a quick shot of it before it became aware of me and hopped away. There were no butterflies but there were other winged insects feasting on the nectar of the wildflowers. There was the sky, the breeze, and the morning bathing me in silence and a sense of well-being. There was myself.
Soon the hill was bathe in sunlight and my stomach said I was hungry. So I began the trek back home ready for the day.