Is it too crazy to pack three hikes into one post? We are diving into it, wanting to be Out and In it, together as much as possible. The surprises and treasures each venture offers are so abundant and diverse...(Do you feel like you might be reading last year's post? Or the year before that? Or how about 2009? 2008? I was reading an essay by Oliver Sacks not long ago, about memory, and how we sometimes find ourselves making the same discoveries over and over, and how that maybe is all right, that we are different ourselves each time, and bring new things to the experience...will that work? Think of this as my Easter. My Christmas. Spring is the most outward expression of my spiritual beliefs, that is for sure.)
This spring I am absorbing all I can because I will be leaving for 2 weeks of it - two weeks of the fireworks season in our neck of the woods? what was I thinking?! - to travel to Palestine/Israel with my mama! I have written several blog posts about this, and none have managed to get finished enough to share, so there is my news flash - I'm going out of the country. With my mom. Without my family.
I am excited. I am nervous. I am full of anticipation and tired already at the thought of the trip there, which will take me from my Wednesday evening's ride to Columbus, to my flight in Chicago on Friday, to finally arriving in Tel Aviv on Saturday night. I am so grateful to my husband for being supportive of my going on this adventure. The timing is nuts: he has finished his rounds of interviews and will be defending his dissertation on Friday!!!! The day I fly out of the country! There is some symbolism there to comment on but I'm congested and cold-bleary and just can't eek it out.
I have been missing my husband so much this past year, and while it feels like a huge sigh of relief to be getting a "break" from the routine of the patchwork holding-together of the family that is my daily job, it is a little bittersweet that as he is crossing the finish line I am not here with him.
The girls have been indulging my need for weekly trips into the forest to see what's new, what has already past, what haven't we seen before. They love it too, and recognize so much this year. It is such a pleasure to share that interest with them.
|Ani, adjusting her trillium|
It was an extra bonus that we got out with Dan each day of the weekend. Really, soaking it in.
|what are you?? - do you see the spider, up left?|
|immature mayapple - only one leaf, no flower this year|
|so many ramps.|
|sea of mayapples|
|mayapples and ramps, congregating|
Ani is so happy to have her papa with her, she keeps up a constant chatter and commentary about it all. Dan grins at me over her head - we have to take you to Alaska to hike, Ani. We wouldn't even need a bear bell! True, our own bear-warning system...Heyyyyy, bear!
|beautiful, tasty redbuds|
Sunday we joined a local outdoorsing group called the Multigenerational Appalachian Woodlands Explorers (I think?) who had organized a hike at the United Plant Savers Goldenseal Sanctuary. Going there is balm for me, and it was Dan's first time hiking through the woods there. It was great to share it with him.
|sniffing the goldenseal root - so bitter|
|I don't know what you are, but I love you.|
|littleleaf buttercup - ranunculus abortivus|
|Hydrastis - goldenseal aplenty|
We were lead by the woman who introduced me to the woods around here, during a hike at our first Pawpaw festival in 2008, Rebecca Wood. She is so easy-going and dispenses knowledge left and right, encouraging questions, getting the group to think about looking at things differently. The nice thing about going with a guide is that she could dig up the plants so we could look at their beautiful roots (yes, she planted them back again).
|wild ginger flower|
toadshade, or sessile, trillium
|wild ginger leaves|
I feel as though I'm rushing through this, but maybe it's because I am. I don't want these memories of slow, meandering walks through the woods to get lost in my list of things I need to do before I go. These are the experiences that sustain me, that hold my anxiety and worry-buzz away. A dear friend of mine is in the hospital with an infected burn. My beloved dad had heart valve replacement surgery today. I am a witness and a hand-holder and it is hard for me to be far away from people I love who could use a little extra right now. I tried to take some extra deep breaths for you, Dad, and for you, Nancy, as if I could channel some of the smell of the soil or the taste of redbuds to you. Spring is not mine to give, but if it were....hoo boy. Your hospital rooms would be smelling so sweet right now.