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A Monday meander

Entering the darkness of the woods.
Entering the darkness on a sunny day.

Lost

Stand still.
The trees ahead and the bushes beside you Are not lost.
Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you,
If you leave it you may come back again, saying Here.

No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still.
The forest knows Where you are.
You must let it find you.

~ David Whyte, The Heart Aroused: Poetry and the Preservation of the Soul in Corporate America

Falling down on the road to Assateague.
Falling down on the road to Assateague.

I unplugged for a while yesterday, and went to Assateague Island to walk in the woods, take a stroll on the boardwalk that meanders through the marsh, and wobble my way through the soft sand of the dunes (on the trail that permits one to walk through the dunes).  I went to Assateague to commune with the wild horses, to wander around the beach admiring the beauty of the shells that wash ashore, and to listen to what the ocean has to say.

Sycamore trees lining the way.
Sycamore trees lining the way.

It was a beautiful day to be at the beach.  Relatively warm, sunny, and not too windy.  I overdressed for the excursion.  I thought it would be colder on Assateague Island.  It is January, after all.  But it was warmer there than at home.  Usually it’s the opposite which is why so many folks flock to the beaches in the summer months in an effort to cool off.  Every now and then, though, the wind shifts and brings something warmer rather than something cooler.

Where will this lead?
Where will this lead?

I explored a new trail yesterday.  New to me, that is.  The trail has been there.  I’m not sure for how long, and I’ve seen the opening to the path on previous visits so it’s not like I didn’t know it was there.  It is new to me in the sense that I never hiked it before.  It starts behind the Assateague Island Visitors Center and I thought it was designed as a mere connector between the Visitors Center and Rackliffe Plantation House.  I haven’t visited the plantation house prior to this, either.  I don’t know why.  Both the unnamed path and the plantation house have been on my list of things to do when I visit Assateague Island, and yesterday felt like a great day to explore something new to me.  The plantation house, by the way, is not open (except by appointment) this time of year, but you can still walk around it and try to peer into the windows.

Connected.
Connected.

The beginning of the trail starts behind the visitors center and parallels the Sinepuxent Bay on the left.  Then it curves off into a tunnel of what I think are myrtles.  As you walk farther along, the myrtles mingle with loblolly pines and the path is softened by the pine needles.

Myrtles and pines.
Myrtles and pines.

The scent that arises from crushing the pine needles underfoot is wonderful, warm, and kind of spicy.

Approaching a turn in the trail.
Approaching a turn in the trail.

Eventually the trail does lead to the Rackliffe Plantation House.  The house was built in the 1740’s by Captain Charles Rackliffe, a merchant-planter, who was the grandson of one of Maryland’s early immigrant settlers.  The house overlooks the Sinepuxent Bay, and as I walked around the house and the area around it, I wondered how rough the elements must have been out there in the winter months.  Then again, the house is quite a distance back from the waterfront.  Perhaps the wind and cold were not too bad.

Almost there.
Almost there.

The early Rackliffe’s used indentured servants when they first came to the New World.  About forty years or so before the plantation house was built, they had switched over to slaves.  According to this timeline, there is no mention of slaves by the early 1800’s.

Rackliffe Plantation House
Rackliffe Plantation House

I took quite a few photos of the house and outbuildings, but I think I’ll wait to show you more after I’ve gone back during the summer season when the house is open and things are growing in the garden.

Following another path.
Following another path.

After circling around the Rackliffe Plantation House, I noticed another path heading away from it and decided to follow it for a while.  I’m not sure how far it goes.  I ended up turning around after about 20-30 minutes, mostly because I was hungry and had a picnic lunch waiting for me in the car.  It was time to leave the woods on the mainland, head out to the island, and find a picnic table.

Reflections along the way.
Reflections along the way.

I reckon that’s it for today’s meander.  We’ll continue on a ways in the woods surrounding the plantation while I finish up this post.  I’ll bring you more from my day on Assateague Island sometime soon.  Thank you for stopping by and rambling along with me.  It looks like sunset will be interesting this evening.  Let’s head over to the Point to see the show.  Sunset is at 5:24 PM.  I’ll be there early, as usual, so I can have a look around.

Beckoning.
Beckoning.

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

Light up ahead.
Light up ahead.

A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy:  101)  Friends, near and far.  102)  A day on Assateague Island to rest and recharge.  103)  The healing properties of salt air and salt water.  104)  Calming meditations.  105)  Calming teas.

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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.

23 thoughts on “A Monday meander

  1. Thanks for sharing your meander, Robin. I didn’t know there was a plantation house there.
    I love the photos of the trails through the trees.

    We were supposed to have snow last night, but it never happened. Then a few minutes ago, it started snowing furiously. The ground is now covered, but the sun is coming back out and it’s stopping. So weird. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Merril. 🙂 There was snow in our forecast too, and we did get a light dusting overnight. Around lunchtime we had some of that furiously falling snow. It looked a little like tiny styrofoam balls rather than snow. I second your “so weird.”

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Cheryl. 🙂 There were a few people out and about, but not as many as I thought there might be since it was a sunny day. This particular trail was empty and there was no one up at the house. The sun usually brings the locals (like myself) to the beach or to look at the horses and birds. This is such a good time of year for birding since so many birds winter here.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m not a big poetry person, but I really like the one at the top of the post. Wisdom and soul there – very true to the forest.
    Tunnels in the forest are great. The sounds on the path. You can almost feel like time traveling.
    Enjoyed the walk – it was a lovely day here (mid 70’s) and perfect for dog walks…we had to do several on such a day

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Eliza. 🙂 I think I need about a month of retreat. I’m going to be spending a lot more time in the woods, the meadows, and at the beaches. The wilderness is the best healer I know. 😀

      Like

  3. I was lamenting today the lack of opportunities to walk this year. Every place I walk during warmer weather is now deep in snow or icy, so my Fitbit reminds me daily that I am being a sloth. My body will protest when spring comes and I insist it wake up.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have not been walking as much as usual either, Carol. Not sure why. Maybe I’ve been too glued to the news, something I am letting go of doing from now on. I walked about 4 miles at Assateague and I’m still feeling it. That tells me I haven’t been walking nearly enough.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. You have such a gift for telling a story and guiding us as we travel with you. I love the feeling I get when I read these posts… as if I was quietly waking with you, enjoying the beauty of nature. Thank you, Robin for generously sharing your gifts. I lived in MD for twenty years and didn’t get there. I now feel as if I have walked those trails. 💕

    Liked by 1 person

  5. What a wonderful meander, Robin! As usual, your images are breathtaking and that poem is absolutely lovely. I think I, too, need about a month of meanderings at this time. Single mother of teen boys is so not a smooth ride right now… Thanks for giving me a much-needed pause!

    Like

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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