We're outdoors people. We love to be outside, but what we really love is to be out in the woods. When Cliff and I were dating, we spent a lot of weekends together camping, kayaking, deer-hunting... we even got engaged in the woods. I love being in the woods.
This beautiful tree-covered hill is just to the east of our house. It's one of my favorite places to go walking, especially in the spring and in the fall. In the spring when we walk up there, my eyes are peeled for the first of the spring woodland flowers - the Trillium, the Jack in the Pulpit, the Spring Beauty, and the Hepatica. In the fall, it's the fiery sugar maples I'm appreciating. This year, our dry weather put a little bit of a damper on the fall colors, as many trees lost their leaves before they really got colorful. That said, we still found ourselves surrounded by the most magical, beautiful world.
We rode the Ranger across the field to the edge of the woods. We could have walked, but planned on cutting some corn stalks on our way back for our fall decor and wanted to be able to put them in the back of the Ranger. We first stopped and picked some apples for a snack. Gavin LOVES apples!
We didn't have the blazing orange and red leaves that we would have in these woods most years, but we had the most glorious golden sunlight filtering through the trees, lighting the wooded wonderland for this little boy as he climbed, explored, and discovered.
He was looking for a good climbing tree. He looked and looked and tried every tree he thought he might be able to manage. He made his way up the trunk of every fallen tree, he discovered some old cow bones from back when this was a cattle pasture - at least 35 years ago, he inspected some fungi, and he collected some hickory nuts.
I hope that we raise children who appreciate and respect the woods as much as we do. I hope Gavin continues to preserve the natural areas of his world as he grows older.
I have 192 pictures from the two hours in the woods this evening. I could share them all. Looking at the pictures takes me right back up there, to the warm sunshine and the chilly fall air, the smell of the leaves on the ground and the crackle-snap of the sticks as you push through the dry underbrush.
I have more pictures and can't wait to share them!