The woods less traveled.

Cedar and Cagney were a bit tired this morning. They’re not the spring pups that can run and run, like they used to. There is no doubt they can’t keep up with Leika and Echo, who are filled with boundless and sometimes untapped energy.

With the girls in mind, our walk this morning was a bit more sedate than usual. All four ran down to the apple tree to see if they could claim any dropped fruit. After eating their finds we headed toward the marsh. I stopped along the way and held a bunch of ripened wild grapes in my hand. Their scent isn’t as intoxicating as domestic grapes, but nice all the same.

Farther up the trail, I decided to change my route and head into the deeper part of the woods instead of onto the powerline. To tell you the truth I wasn’t in the mood to get smacked by the countless wayward flying grasshoppers today.

I took a chance and walked through the thick stand of beech trees, minding where I put my feet. Roots and beech knees poked up everywhere and made it dangerously easy to trip. I took my time and let the dogs wander around to sniff new sniffs.

I like to take chances in my writing too. When I start a project, I have an idea of what I want to achieve in the book, but I’m often not sure how to get from Point A to Point B when I first start out. I wander around, let my mind focus and refocus on different landscapes. Of their own accord, things take shape and work out.

My sense of touch, smell and hearing become more acute as I go. I can locate each dog by their panting or footsteps. I touch the trees, feel the surface of the bark of the various species that have taken root; the smooth bark of the beech, the rough potato chip like bark of the cherry and the peeling strips of the shag-bark hickory.

A soft breeze mixes the smell of the woods floor with the scent of pine. A few birds hidden in the treetops chirp and sing. Before I know it, I’m on the trail headed home.





About laurie salzler

novelist, outdoor enthusiast, animal lover, dog trainer
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