The weather puppets have been screeching for a few days now about Hurricane Sandy. There was a news truck parked at North Hampton Beach State Park last night; it’s probably a good backdrop for a news puppet, with the wind and waves swirling around in the background. When I got back to The Coop from a very long and lovely weekend at home, I had a robo-call from The Big Corporation, providing me with instructions for Monday and Tuesday.
I don’t know what to make of it; I’m weary of “panic set-ups” because they happen so frequently. Maybe Hurricane Sandy will be a storm of historic proportions or maybe the parking lot here at The Coop will be flooded; I don’t know. I have toilet paper, water, and food. I have flashlights, candles, blankets, and a mummy sleeping bag.
All this weather panic is messing with my memories of the weekend, including stomping around in the woods on Sunday afternoon.
My mission was to figure out some approximate dimensions of the big field. My general “pace” is about 36 inches; contrary to the opinions of some, this is not an exhausting pace for me. In fact, when I stomp around in the woods and fields of The Farm, I feel like I’m taller than my tall girl frame.
Uncle Bob’s truck was in its usual spot; he was stomping around in the woods somewhere too. I don’t know what his “pace” is and I am sure if I asked him, he would look at me like I was foolish.
I stomped up one side of the field, counting and recording my paces on my phone. Then I stomped across the wood line, about halfway across the field. Stomp, stride, and stomp back down the field. I was a stomping foot soldier. I stopped to make a notation about a soggy spot where the field slopes downward. Then I stomped up the far end of the field; when I was halfway to the end, I saw Uncle Bob, wearing his orange “don’t shoot me” cap. I had mine on too.
He asked me what I was doing and I said I was just “stomping around.” I asked him if he knew the general dimensions and acreage of the field and he did. I recorded this on my phone. He told me not to get lost in the woods and he stomped off for home, likely to watch a little bit of football.
I cut into the woods and shortened my pace a bit for safety’s sake.
As Robert Frost said “the woods are lovely, dark and deep” and there is a primitive sense of time in the leaf litter. The wind stirs in the tops of the trees and makes a melody unheard in suburban and urban areas. I stood on a tree stump and wondered who had cut this tree and when; was it by O’Pa, Bob, or my father?
I hiked over fallen trees, under low-hanging branches, and through a leafy stream. A beautiful birch tree appeared and I hugged it. I wrapped my arms around the tree and rested my cheek against the bark lovingly, thinking about my grandfather; the tears rolled down my cheeks and I whispered “thank you, O’Pa.”
Composing myself, I stomped off to a clearing and found a tree stand belonging to one of Uncle Bob’s friends. Since there’s no hunting in Maine on Sundays, I climbed up into the deserted thirty foot stand and sat on the cushioned seat. A chickadee twittered around about four feet from my head.
I had never sat in a tree stand before and it was wonderful.
I stomped around a little bit more and then climbed to the top of Mosquito Hill. I looked at my watch and sighed; the cares of Monday started creeping in and I knew I needed to go.
I’m overtired from all the excitement of the past few days and maybe that’s why the smell of the woods in my lumberjack jacket is making me a little weepy. My mother might suggest I need a nap.
I did accomplish my goal of pacing out the field and learning its dimensions. I didn’t get lost in the woods, either. I know it will all still be there after Hurricane Sandy finishes her business. Until I can go stomping around again, I’m going to tuck it all into my memory bank where it will be safely stored from the fog of fear being blown into New England right about now.
Don’t be afraid today.