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A Visit to the James L. Goodwin State Forest

Thank goodness for fresh air, blue skies, and a bit of exercise. Last week my husband and I had to run an errand so on the way home we stopped at a state forest for a hike. It was lovely to be out of the house. Plus, after the last few weeks, it felt downright indulgent to go for a walk somewhere new and different.

We have been to this state forest a few times before when we had first moved into the area but it has been years. That is probably because my main memory of the walk is being eaten alive by mosquitos. However, obviously there are no mosquitos in March so last week was the perfect time to revisit it. The path was waterlogged in places but we picked our way through on the rocks. Connecticut is extremely rocky. These are a few photos of the path in one section.

The forest is crisscrossed with old drystone walls from years ago when the land was cleared. I love seeing the walls meandering their way through the trees. Every now and then we come across an old stone foundation.

We followed the trail up the lake until we came to an island with a causeway out to it. At the head of the little island, there was an overlook with benches used by birdwatchers. Unfortunately, a couple was taking up the whole overlook while they were having their lunch and there wasn't room for us to walk up too without getting too close. We headed back along a different trail through the woods. However, once we walked a good way along it we came to a crossroads where most of the converging trails were blocked off. We had a horrible gypsy moth caterpillar infestation a few years ago that has killed off a lot of trees and the notice said the paths were dangerous because of that.

We tried going down the only open trail but eventually, that was blocked too. We ended up walking in circles but we didn't really mind. It was a gorgeous day and we had nowhere we needed to be.

Finally, after about an extra hour of walking we ended up by the lake again. We had only encountered a handful of people and we had basically managed to forget for a few hours that the world is falling apart around us. All in all, a successful afternoon.

We are going to make it a weekly habit to go a little further afield for our walks. The bike trail by the river behind our house is nice but we might as well visit a few of the state forests as long as they are open and we have the time.

A Poem for a Thursday #75

Photo by Martin Sepion on Unsplash
It has been a while since I have featured a Mary Oliver poem. Her poems are some of my absolute favorites. I enjoy the way her words and the mental picture they create go together so perfectly. In this poem, she talks about just that.

You don't ever know where
a sentence will take you, depending 
on its roll and fold. I was walking
over the dunes when I saw
the red fox asleep under the green 
branches of the pine. It flared up
in the sweet order of its being,
the tail that was over the muzzle
lifting in airy amazement
and the fire of the eyes followed
and the pricked ears and the thin
barrel body and the four
athletic legs in their black stockings and it
came to me how the polish of the world changes
everything, I was hot I was cold I was almost
dead of delight. Of course the mind keeps 
cool in its hidden palace-yes, the mind takes
a long time, is otherwise occupied than by 
happiness, and deep breathing. Still,
at last, it comes too, running
like a wild thing, to be taken
with its twin sister, breath. So I stood
on the pale, peach-colored sand, watching the fox
as it opened like a flower, and I began
softly, to pick among the vast assortment of words
that it should run again and again across the page
that you again and again should shiver with praise. 

Mary Oliver

Visit Brona for more poetry.

A Poem for a Thursday #74

Photo by Raphael Schaller on Unsplash
Anne Sexton won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1967. She was known for her very personal poems that addressed her suicidal tendencies, depression, and relationships with family members. She was encouraged to take up poetry by her therapist after a breakdown. She quickly became well-known for her writing. Sadly, she took her own life in 1974.

Be careful of words,
even the miraculous ones.
For the miraculous we do our best,
sometimes they swarm like insects
and leave not a sting but a kiss.
They can be as good as fingers.
They can be as trusty as the rock
you stick your bottom on.
But they can be both daisies and bruises.
Yet I am in love with words.
They are doves falling out of the ceiling.
They are six holy oranges sitting in my lap.
They are the trees, the legs of summer,
and the sun, its passionate face.
Yet often they fail me.
I have so much I want to say,
so many stories, images, proverbs, etc.
But the words aren't good enough,
the wrong ones kiss me.
Sometimes I fly like an eagle
but with the wings of a wren.
But I try to take care 
and be gentle to them.
Words and eggs must be handled with care.
Once broken they are impossible 
things to repair. 

Anne Sexton

Brona has shared a poem this week.