The woods call and Nora and I are more than happy to respond. The snow has been receding slowly but steadily for the past few weeks and we are able to actually walk on bare ground to the edge of the woods. I have long since run out of kindling and am excited to fill the bag I have brought along. With sun shining off the relatively unmarked white carpet in front of us, Nora races off as we cross the threshold into the forest proper. And I take only a few steps to realize that snowshoes would be welcome today, my foot sinking well beyond the top of my boot. Not wanting to go back, I forge ahead slowly, alert to where each step takes me both horizontally and vertically. I abandon my kindling gathering mission and follow Nora now tracing our familiar path down to the brook. The snow is lightly crusted with a faint dust, crunchy and soft at the same time. It doesn’t take but a minute or two before the magic of this place begins to resonate. Looking down, as if to confirm, there is a green heart smiling back up at me.
Aside from a few piles of scat and Nora’s tracks, there is very little evidence of movement on the ground other than the sprinkling of pine needles, leaves, and wind strewn branches. So imagine my surprise when I round a bend and see an orchestration of dropped leaves on the surface in perfect sync with what would be a rhythm of footsteps in the path.
As if they were carefully placed to create this path. Except there are no footsteps. Just shallow indentations that might be the shadow of snowshoe tracks, from a month ago? Mine? Someone else? These leaves didn’t just blow into place in each of these spaces. Did they? I feel a quickening in my heart that silences the mind that searches for a rational explanation. There very well could be one I suppose. But it doesn’t feel that way at all. It simply feels like magic afoot.
My heart quickens a second time as I encounter the pile of strewn branches littering the end of this trail of leaves. Clearly there is a downed branch or two from the stormy winds of late. But the concentration of twigs and smaller branches all in this one spot are crisscrossing and layering in a way that also feels like something orchestrated.
I will be able to fill my bag and then some from this one place. After checking in on the brook
and taking in the still winter scene of the pine forest below,
I return to this veritable treasure trove of wood for the taking, fill my bag to capacity, and begin back up the path of leaves.
Now I am noticing the ring of melt around tree trunks, as if the heat of each these living breathing trunks is consciously clearing the way for spring.
The quickening I feel this time comes from a clear thought of, ‘these trees know exactly what they are doing’. I turn to look back and as if in answer to this thought, I am shown another smaller path of leaves like breadcrumbs making a path deeper into the woods in another direction, this time with no indentations or tracks at all. There is no mistaking the magic of this particular sighting, same leaves, same deliberateness of arrangement, as if the trees are writing music to herald the coming of spring.
I recently completed renovating the porch room which faces east and takes in the full breadth of woodland edge that calls. Rearranging the furniture was a challenge. It was all about where the couch sat and how it would be angled. After trying so many variations, I finally found a place that allowed all the other pieces to simply fall into place like puzzle pieces.
Significantly, this included leaving the entire east window wall without anything at all.
Sitting in the sweet spot of the couch, I look out and see the reason why. The large tree that sits right outside this room is now, majestically, the center of the space between me and the edge of the forest. She anchors and at the same time literally becomes part of the room with her presence. Her energy is so strong as to have orchestrated even this, an arrangement of furniture. She has provided quickening for this indoor space I love to be in almost as much as the woods, empowering the room to spring to life and become animated.
I suspect these episodes of experiencing quickening are going to be pretty constant now until the mass of gray outside becomes spring green….