Back to blog
Winter Magic in the Woods
Share your work with family and friends!

Here in Eugene, Oregon, I live at the edge of town and we’re pretty much surrounded by he woods. I’ve seen things on the trail I traverse almost every day that I’ve never seen in other locations. Maybe they exist in other locations; but I have not noticed them.

Since I began hiking on the special trail I found in the woods for over a year now when I discovered it, I notice things more. Like while driving to the Oregon coast, I noticed that there’s a river that runs next to Highway 22, no doubt covered in the spring and summer with all the foliage and trees. I see and hear things in the wintertime that I don’t when all the leaves return to the deciduous trees in the woods, of which there are many. They’re mixed in with the mighty Douglas firs and Sitka spruces which are evergreen trees. I can hear Amazon Creek babble along everywhere on the trail that winds uphill. I had neer been able to climb a hill such as that one before without a lot of moaning and groaning that it’s like “heart attack” hill, but this trail is different. It calls to me. I need to walk that trail or I feel as if something is missing in my life.

In the wintertime, I can look down and see parts of Amazon Creek that are completely covered with foliage in the spring and summer. I can clearly see where the two Amazon Creeks meet past a bridge near my house with no trouble. It took me months to find that spot, and now I know why. It was spring when I searched and though I could see that there were two Amazon Creeks and then later one, it was almost impossible to see the spot where they meet. Waterparsley grew in the water, and lush green foliage and trees covered the spot. Now that I know where it is, I can find it anytime.

I also love how the ferns stand out in the wintertime because they’re not mixed with all the other foliage except maybe some blackberry bushes. And I love the licorice ferns that grow right out of the trunks of the deciduous trees when the leaves begin to fall in late autumn. They remind me of delicate green feathers, and I see them all over. The licorice ferns also grow out of long dead tree trunks, which brings life to them. It’s as if the trees don’t die even after they fall — the other trees and the licorice ferns and moss keep those trees alive. I recently read that trees communicate with one another, especially redwoods, but other trees as well. Their roots can intertwine and give each other nourishment so they all survive. This is especially true among the redwoods.

I saw life among fallen trees yesterday on my walk. A lady named Kirsten inserted a fairy house, which she made from a birdhouse into the end of a fallen Sitka Spruce tree. The end of the tree almost looks like a small tree of its own, jutting out as it does. I met Kirsten the other day. She added moss to the fairy house and told me she was the one who put it in about three years ago. I had wondered about the fairy house. You almost can’t see it from the trail, and I didn’t see it myself for quite a while until the day I walked up the trail with my daughter Megan last July. She was visiting from LA, and of course I took her for my special saunter in the woods. She noticed it and pointed it out to me. We checked it out. People had left small trinkets, colorful stones and shiny stones, a tiny wooden table with a tiny bowl on top. We were both in awe. Since then, I have checked out that fairy house almost every time I hike by, and the trinkets change and move around. Sometimes some leave and new ones appear. There’s a crystal hanging above the fairy house. Kirsten told me that she wasn’t even sure the fairy house would remain, that sometimes people just take them. But not this fairy house. Not only did it stay, but it’s taken on a life of its own. Like magic, we agreed. I leave small seashells mostly. I also noticed that live sprouts and licorice ferns grow around the fairy house as if the tree itself has come to life. I’ve seen other fallen trees on the trail like that as well. And further down, someone hung a beautiful dragonfly on a tree branch off the trail. It’s the circle of life, and the trees never really die.

Leave your comment...