On a mild November day, I traipsed through the untamed woods of Bear River. Again. The brilliance of autumnal colors had long faded. The leaves had fallen from the trees, except for sun-blistered beech clinging to their young branches. Winter was not far off. There had already been a dusting of snow, which has long since melted.
The odd cracking and swishing sounds (of the leaves) underfoot, along with the fresh air, were joyful reminders of how beautiful life is. The freedom to roam in outdoor spaces is a blessing not to be taken for granted.
In one particular spot of the woods, the trees parted to an overgrown pasture. Massive oaks held the space so gracefully. The sound of cowbells pierced through time, pulling history forward to this gentle afternoon. Stone fences spoke of the not-so-distant past when homesteads secured both family and community. These stones were an honorable tribute to the men and women who wet the soil with blood and sweat.
The sound of the nearby river filled the gaps between the sumac, poplar, ash, and oak. Time tucked itself ever so cleverly into the surrounding hills, drifting to the furthermost parts of tomorrow.
The trees invited me to play with them- an invitation I could not resist. There are pictures to prove it. A picture is indeed worth a thousand words. There is at least one story embedded in every photo. Often, there are many more.
Nature has many stories to tell. It takes a patient soul to stop in the woods to listen to tales that go unnoticed. There are the unspoken ones that become lost in time. Some are as twisted as the vines that climb an abandoned stone wall. And some remain very much alive in the lore of town-folk.
Some stories come to life through the pen, while others are captured through the lens. This time, I went to the woods without a pen and paper. But there are no regrets. With a camera and a friend, I was able to create a lasting memory.
All image photography by Angela McMullen
It was my observation that the healthiest trees were those with the most exposure to light and air. Other trees did not seem to thrive in crowded environments. It was a reminder that living things need air, light, and water- plants, animals, and humans. Likewise, all need adequate space to thrive.
I thought about how Planet Earth has everything to sustain life: food, water, and sunshine. Sadly, to our demise, we have poisoned our food and water and have invented sunblock. The evolution of a disposable society has driven us indoors to artificial light and vented air. We have steered from the natural elements that support good health-fresh air and sunshine, and snowflakes on our noses!
Plants remain connected to a higher intelligence. I noticed that even the fallen trees reached for life from their new place on the ground. They grow around obstacles, like rocks, barbed wire, and other trees. Adaptability, resilience, and persistence ensure their survival.
Like plants, human survival depends on connection to a higher intelligence, the intuitive voice that seeks to penetrate the logical, the analytical, and the critical. And the inner knowing that challenges even the best research.
The walk in the November woods was a reminder to embrace the natural intelligence that is my birthright. It was also a reminder to run wild in the timeless woods as much as possible, and that the mysteries of life do indeed unfold within the forest realm.
Angela McMullen is a freelance writer who lives and writes in maritime Nova Scotia, where she is inspired by the rhythm of the Bay of Fundy tides, the pulse of long-standing forests, the expansive fields of the Annapolis Valley, the backdrop of North and South mountain ranges, and the distinction of the four seasons. www.forestwriting.com
Angela's most recent work is a slim book of poetry that captures the pure essence of nature and her unwavering resilience. Infused with undertones of Italian influence, this collection of poetry speaks for itself.