Sunday, September 30, 2007

Studying Nature With The Dogs... Or... "I loafe and invite my soul..." Whitman


"If a man walks in the woods for love of them half of each day, he is in danger of being regarded as a loafer. But if he spends his days as a speculator, shearing off those woods and making the earth bald before her time, he is deemed an industrious and enterprising citizen."

~ Henry David Thoreau ~




Walking with the 3 dogs...



Little did I know, when Babs and Sampson, the 2 pugs, entered my life, one month apart, in the last month or so, that these 2 little beings would take Moe and I on such great adventures. We walk 6-8 times a day, two of those times for a good hour. And I have a pouch around my neck that I knitted some time ago with 2 pockets and I carry my cell phone (...lest I fall and hurt myself... I'd be found sprawled out hanging onto 3 leashes!) and my camera, for each moment of the walk has become too precious to waste. And the longer we walk and the more territory we traverse, the deeper into Nature we get, and the more things that I discover. And as I said to my dear friend Noreen today, you can't rush when you are walking 3 dogs, two of whom are the size of peanuts and can't go fast, and all three of them have such busy noses they are always stopping here and there for all those marvelous mysterious smells. It reminds me of walking with my children when they were young. You can't go fast with a baby strapped to your body and a 3 and 6 year old in tow, and they keep stopping to discover things you would have walked right over or missed. Tiny wildflowers, a beautiful stone, a perfect butterfly, still captivating in death, a hummingbird, a bumblebee, and ants running hither and yon, carrying things seemingly too big for them. I wouldn't have missed that time with my children for all the world, and now I am once again experiencing these wonders with my dogs.

Today we started out and everywhere along the roadside, on one particular stretch, there were wild morning glories and they took my breath away. As it was noontime most were closing, but I got a beautiful shot of one in a shady patch and shall cherish it's beauty for some time to come...




Wild morning glory in tangles along roadside...



Further on I was captivated by a tiny blue and white house. It looked abandoned, but I can't imagine that it was, however it set me to dreaming. I love little houses. I wrote a whole story about it in my mind. The only thing missing was a wild garden all around it. That would have made it perfect!




A wee little house to dream about...


On we walked and back around and then down the long stretch that leads to the woods. Along the way I was delighted to find wild mushrooms and this is something I definitely want to study. I don't want to eat a toadstool! Who then would feed all of these little animals of mine! But I feel these are mushrooms and tomorrow I shall pick one and check online. If they are okay I will pick a little group of them and cook and eat them. I adore mushrooms, and the idea of foraging for free food from Mother Nature appeals to me greatly. Do any of you know anything about these? Aren't they lovely?





I moved forward from the mushrooms, looking very much like a wild-haired absent minded professor, and reminding myself that next time I needed a little notebook too, for my pocket. (You're wondering how I can possibly hold 3 leashes with 3 dogs attached, take pictures, and make notes? Let's just say they are very good dogs and I imagine I can slip the loops of all three leashes over one wrist and a quick note might be made. Mind, these are very good dogs and when I stop they stop and look up at me. They're used to me stopping every three feet for photos...).




You thought I was kidding about
the wild-haired preposterous looking
business! Well, a woman going on
a nature walk with three dogs doesn't
much care what she looks like... It's
the joy of the outdoors, the dogs, the
great natural finds, funny hair and
all the rest!



After the mushrooms we meandered further back toward the woods and I had to stop at the magnolia that I had plucked my beautiful seed pod from the day before, but I also wanted pictures of the pods with their bright red seeds. They are like Christmas ornaments and just amazing. Here they are on the tree...





And here is one not yet ripe. I thought they were a lovely shade of cream with a bit of pink, and oh how lovely, but these are not fully ripe pods and it's the red seeds showing through that make them look pink...





And now I have a little bowl of magnolia seed pods on my kitchen counter and I look at them in a dreamy sort of way. I would love to draw them in all of their stages. I shall have to take up my sketchbook again. I draw in pen and ink with a touch of watercolor. I think my nature walks will get me painting again...





As I walked with my three further into the little forest area behind where I live I saw an enchanting sight. Under a giant pine tree there were huge pinecones and a tiny little seedling saying "I want to live too," under the shadow of her tall mother, reaching up far into the sky. I had to snap some photos of them...





And the giant, magical pine tree towering above...




I adore these Loblolly pines...



The dogs loved all of the wonderful smells and were snuffling about while I looked, breathless, all around me at all the wonders of nature, and knew that this was going to be very important to me. I feel a strange and mysterious feeling of awakening. For some time now I have felt a growing sense of a kind of awakening inside of me to my true work. Little did I know that 3 dogs would show me the way.

Further on, at the back of our little woodsy paradise, I saw something that I couldn't make out until I got closer and I gasped in glee. It was a very old worn wicker chair with a sign on it that said, "Welcome," that had been shoved back in the woods long ago. Did someone sit in it before the woods grew up around it? Surely, I had entered an enchanted forest...




Who sat here? I can hear her calling to me now...



Finally, at the end of our walk, before turning back toward home, we came upon the most glorious tiny little place. Surely whoever lived there knew magic as I do. Just look at her little garden gate...





And she had a bird at her feeder the likes of which I never see at mine, though I've feeders all the way around my cottage...





I'll have to look this one up in a bird book! I'm not sure Mr. Audubon could have named him. He looks more like he fits in my parrot jungle indoors!

So finally we were home, and the dogs fell fast asleep, and I sat here going through my pictures and feeling so happy and at peace, and wondering how many people might find a peaceful calm they'd never known before, if only they had a dog or three to take them on a nature walk...

Warm Blessings to one and all. Take time to walk. Even in a suburban neighborhood, and even without a dog (though it's so much more fun to have one or more with you!) you will have an awakening to all of the beauty there really is in the world.

Turn off the t.v. ~ Go Outside!

Maitri, Moe, Sampson and Babs,
my fellow nature lovers...




4 comments:

'Zann said...

Thank you so much for sharing your walk! I have phobia issues to conquer but I have been gearing up to try to walk again after a long time of not walking. How perfectly inspirational and encouraging to read your blog entry.
Now which dog did you get to take your picture? :-)
love and light,
Zann

Maitri Libellule said...

Hello Zann Lovie... you know, I am borderline agoraphobia which means I can leave my house to go to my daughters nearby to babysit a couple of times a week (the baby is so allergic to everything he can't be around my animals, so I have no choice!) and I get meds and groceries on the way home but then rarely leave otherwise. But on foot, just around my neighborhood, with my 3 dogs, it feels safe, and the weather has been cool and lovely, and while I love all of my animals dearly, there is something about dogs that makes you feel so protected (and I mean more than physical, in a psychic, emotional way) and I am walking in a very safe area, just up the road and back and then down the way into the woods behind our buildings, I am quite safe and close to home but can still enjoy the wonders of the natural world. Just as one may be an armchair traveler by reading about adventures around the world, so too one might be a great nature explorer by traversing the nooks and crannies of their own back yard and surrounding area...

And oh, the gigantic black Great Dane, who dwarfs Moe and is as gentle as a lamb, offered to take the photo. I thought that was very nice..... :o)

Hugs to you angel, and thanks again for helping with the Freeform exchange!

Maitri

Noreen Crone-Findlay said...

You had a magical walk indeed,m'dear!
All your discoveries were truly amazing and wonderful. Obviously, there are fellow travellers living very near you!
big hugs
Noreen

Maitri Libellule said...

Noreenie!!! It's so good to see you here honey! And yes, it was magical indeed. You know more than anyone all of what's been going on and what a piece of rare magic that these little dogs came just now and brought so much joy and wonder and so many adventures with them! Thank you for sharing it with me!

I am using all of my beautiful tools from you and am busy busy busy. That too is a big part of the magic and joy around here these days!

Big hugs to you and Jimbly and the 2 new brides and grooms!

Maitri, and Henry who is going to help me make the morning latte!

*v* "Hi Auntie Noreenie!"

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