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A Monday meander

A sun dappled entrance to the woods. The Trail of Change, Pocomoke River State Park.
A sun dappled entrance to the woods. The Trail of Change, Pocomoke River State Park.

“…we’re not even really hiking,
more like meandering in cinematic light.”

~ Kristen Henderson, Drum Machine

In the beginning.
In the beginning.

This is really a Sunday meander through the woods in images, while the words are Monday’s meander through whatever happens to pop up in my mind.  I never know which way my Monday meander posts will go when I sit down to write them.  Will I tell you all about the hike?  Or will I tell you that the images are a tale of two cameras because I couldn’t decide which camera to take with me?  Will my words veer towards life?  Or towards death?  The two are so interwoven it probably doesn’t matter.

The reds are few and like to show off.
The reds like to show off.

M and I went to Pocomoke River State Park for our hike yesterday.  We hiked The Trail of Change, a trail we’ve hiked several times.  It’s usually the trail we hike with visitors.  It’s an easy hike, approximately one mile, although the description of the trail lists it as “easy to moderate.”  There are no elevation changes since the Eastern Shore is pretty much flat.  You encounter the occasional gentle hill, no more than a few feet.  Just a bump in the trail.

Dogwoods near one of the entrances to the trail.
Dogwoods near one of the entrances to the trail.

Normally we enter the trail on the path that has “The Trail of Change” sign overhead.  Yesterday we came in from a different direction and essentially hiked it backwards.  It’s a loop, so I’m not sure there is a “backwards,” just another way to approach it.

Dogwood leaves.
Dogwood leaves swaying in the wind.

Sunday’s weather was much like today’s — breezy, bright with sunshine, deep with blue skies, and light with autumn-cool temperatures.  Sun-dappled pathways are beautiful to see and to walk, but not great for photography.  Too much light in some areas.  Too much shadow in other spots.  The sunlight washes out colors, too, unlike those dark gray, cloudy days when the color pops.  It can be manipulated, either in the camera or in a photo editing program, but I’m feeling lazy and not inclined to manipulate things these days so we’ll have to live with the glare and the dark shadows.

In the cypress swamp.
In the cypress swamp.

When you approach The Trail of Change from the official beginning of the loop, you start out in what is described as an old-growth forest which was once farmland.  If memory serves me correctly, you gradually work your way downhill (it’s a gentle downhill because, remember, it’s mostly flat here) to the cypress swamp.  After circling around the swamp, you will find your way through a maze of large (I almost used the word “giant” but not sure that’s quite right… is there something between large and giant?) and twisted laurels.   I usually lose my sense of direction once we’ve wended our way through the cypress swamp.  Not that it matters.  The trail is well marked, and mostly obvious.

Standing in the swamp.
Standing in the swamp.

If you’ve ever hiked or walked through a stand of laurels or rhododendrons, you know that it can be an eerie place.  The laurels lean over the path, bent and contorted into odd shapes.  If it’s a thick stand of laurels, it’s often dark with occasional patches of light finding their way inside.

Entering the stand of laurels.
Entering the stand of laurels.

This is what it looks like in the deepest, thickest part of the laurels:

Difficult to photograph, but you get the idea.
Darkest part of the trail.

I once read a book in which one of the main characters was trying to make his way through miles of laurels, or maybe it was rhododendrons.  I confuse the two.  He couldn’t see ahead or behind or overhead so there was nothing to guide him.  I could see how it would be easy to get lost in such a place.  There is no danger of that on The Trail of Change.  As you can see from the light, the edge of the grove of laurels is never that far away.

The way is barred.
The way is barred.

Guess what? When it comes right down to it, wherever you go, there you are. Whatever you wind up doing, that’s what you’ve wound up doing. Whatever you are thinking right now, that’s what’s on your mind. Whatever has happened to you, it has already happened. The important question is, how are you going to handle it? In other words, “Now what?”

~ Jon Kabat-Zinn, Wherever You Go, There You Are

Long arms.
Long arms.

I reckon that’s it for today.  Thank you for meandering along with me.  Hopefully I’ll have time to bring you some more autumn images before all the leaves fall from the trees.  We’ll see.  The Point has been crowded with people at sunset the past few times I’ve been down there so I think I will watch from the dock today.  You’re welcome to join me.  Sunset is at 4:57 PM.  Wow, that’s early!  That’s okay with me.  It gives me time to watch the sunset before I have to start preparing dinner.  We’ll have to go about 20-30 minutes early since the trees on the horizon will make sunset seem earlier than scheduled.

The feathery branches of a bald cypress tree.
The feathery branches of a bald cypress tree.

Be good, be kind, be loving.  Just Be.  🙂

Traveling on the river.
Traveling on the river.

A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy:  41) This morning’s beautiful sunrise.  42) Long, slow walks on autumn days.  43) Snakes sunning themselves on the paths.  44) Bluebirds sunning themselves on the fence posts.  45) Sunshine streaming in through the patio doors, warming up the house without the need of electricity.

Rooted in reflections.
Rooted in reflections.
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Author:

Robin is a photographer, artist, writer, wife, sometime poet, mom, grandma, daughter, sister, friend, and occasional traveler currently living on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. She finished a 365 commitment to get outside every day in 2011, and has turned it into a lifelong commitment taking one or more walks each day. Robin will continue to share her walks through her words and images on Breezes at Dawn. Older posts can be found at Life in the Bogs, her previous blog. Robin and her husband are in the midst of renovating the house and property they refer to as the Wabi-Sabi Ranch, 35 acres that include marsh, a dock on a tidal creek, meadows, and woodlands. Every day brings new discoveries.

10 thoughts on “A Monday meander

Comments are delightful and always appreciated. I will respond when I can (life is keeping me busy!), and/or come around to visit you at your place soon. Thank you!

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