Posted in Change, Covid-19, Don't Be A Jerk, Earth, Eastern Shore, Exploring, Gifts, Gratitude, Health & Well-Being, Heartfulness, Hiking, In these strange times, Life, Mindfulness, Nature, Photography, Portals & Pathways, Quotes, Sky, Spirit, Walking & Wandering, Water, Weather, Winter, Woods

A Monday meander: A Saturday hike

Saturday sunrise.

Learning about the languages of trees, their social networks, and our own human microbiome forces us to rethink our relationship with “things.” If trees have memories, respond to stress, and communicate, then what can they tell us? Will we listen? Where does one species end and another begin? What happens when we know plants can talk?

~ Katie Holten, Deciphering Words in the Woods (Emergence Magazine)

Saturday morning moon.

On Saturday, M and I went for an early hike in Pocomoke State Forest.  We did a little shopping first.  I could tell you a long story of the drama than ensued at Tractor Supply with two burly white men in their late-40’s/early-50’s who came into the store without masks.  I’ll keep it short.  They were rude.  They hassled and upset the cashier who had the unenviable task of telling them the store policy and state mandate (“wear the damn mask” is how our governor put it).  Upon leaving the store, we called the police and I have to say there was something quite satisfying about seeing those two white, privileged, men get a taste of what it is like to have the cops stop you and ask you for your ID as you exit a store.

I mention it because it is a sign of the times.  I mention it because just before the event, I had been thinking about fear and denial, and how fear can drive you towards denial.  For what seemed like a brief instant, I had a glimpse of understanding why some folks might be reacting the way they are.  When we’re afraid, we mistakenly think it is easier to deny what is going on (I keep getting an image of a child with hands over his ears shouting LA! LA! LA! in an effort not to hear).  Facing truth might be hard, but denial can be even harder.  It allows us to sit with our imagination and every possible scenario rather than be with what is truly going on.  I don’t know about you but I have a vivid imagination.  It can be much scarier than the truth of a situation if I allow my fears and imagination to run any which way.

I know. This is creepy. This was in a recycle bin sitting in the woods near the trailhead where we hiked.

At any rate, the two defiant men chased away those thoughts temporarily.  Watching them walk into the store, it was clear they knew exactly what they were doing.  Just as later in the day I watched two men walk into the fishmonger’s store with their masks below their noses.  Or the man who walked in a few minutes later with no mask at all.  I have no way of knowing if the behavior was born from denial, but I do know there is a selfishness to it that clearly cannot be denied anymore.  There are signs up everywhere telling people why they need to wear a mask.  One of my favorites, found all over the internet, is one from a consignment shop that states it pretty clearly:

If you choose not to wear a mask, we respectfully ask that you postpone your visit.  We’ll be happy to debate the efficiency of masks with you when this is all over and you come in to sell your dead grandmother’s clothes.

Let’s go for a hike, shall we?

Saturday was a beautiful day for a hike.  There were a few clouds around, but it was mostly sunny.  M picked our hiking destination.  There are quite a few trails in the Pocomoke State Forest.  We’ve barely explored them in the time we’ve been here.  Now that we have a bunch of maps, we’re going to make an attempt to explore more.

Some of the forest looks like relatively new-growth forest.

We had to drive a couple of miles on a packed-sand road to get to the parking spot and trailhead.  There were not many others out there.  We saw a grand total of two people: one hiker and one jogger.

Turkey tails and lichens.

It felt good to be with the trees of the forest, to wander near the swamp and visit with the bald cypresses, and to stop to look at the variety of mosses, fungi, and lichens strewn about.  There were a lot of different mosses during the first part of our hike, growing on the sides of the trail and around the base of some of the trees.  Below you will find a photo of something I have been unable to identify.

Can you identify this?

It reminds me, a little, of Spanish moss, but I’ve seen very little Spanish moss here on the Eastern Shore and this was growing on the ground.  Or had been growing.  Some of it was dry to the touch.  It can’t be from lack of water (it was plenty wet out there).  Maybe the cold weather put a freeze on it and it died.  Whatever the case, there was quite a bit of at the beginning of the hike, including in a clearing up on a hill.

I was fascinated with this stuff, but I’ll spare you from looking at 500 photos of it. (Kidding — I didn’t take quite that many.)

We hiked 3.4 miles.  M and I keep talking about taking longer hikes.  There is a lot of discussion about working up to it, but I’m beginning to think we need to just do it.  We do a lot of walking and hiking.  There is no reason we can’t extend the hikes and walks.  I am fairly certain we can manage a 6-8 mile hike.  It’s not like we’re climbing mountains around here (I think the highest point in the park is about 7 feet above sea level).  There is almost no elevation change since the Eastern Shore is so flat.  One of the delightful things about the trail we took on Saturday is that there were some small hills.  When you don’t have hills or stairs to challenge you, it can feel good to walk on an incline or decline once in a while.

The dried ferns are as beautiful as their spring and summer counterparts.

I don’t think there is much more to say or write about the hike.  Or the weekend, for that matter.  It rained yesterday, quite heavily at times.  Near the end of the day it turned to big, fat snowflakes but it was too warm and wet for the snow to stick.  It’s sunny today.  The turkey vultures have gathered outside the office window to sun themselves on the trees.  I love watching as they spread their wings wide and bathe in the light.  I’m thinking it might be wise for me to get outside and do something similar while the sun is shining.  It looks like we have a lot of clouds and rain coming over the next few days.

Greenery.

As for current events, M watched the Super Bowl here at home (we did not hold or attend a super spreader event).  I worked on my art journal, did a little reading, and spent a little time just sitting with one of the cats.  Izzy, who has adopted me, is almost always at my side.  Bella, who has adopted M, sat with him and watched football.  I was reminded of when she was a kitten and she would try to chase the football players on the screen.  It took her a while to figure out she couldn’t catch them.

Together.

I reckon that’s it from me for today.  Thank you for joining me on another meander.  Let’s meet out at the Point for sunset.  It’s scheduled for 5:34 PM.  You’ll want to bundle up.  It’s cold and breezy.

Please be safe, be well, and be kind.  ♥

A weekend sunset.

A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy:  1,721)  Turkey vultures sunning themselves.  1,722)  Morning practices and rituals.  There is some comfort in them.  1,723)  Mystery.  Sometimes we don’t need to know, and sometimes there are no words for what we do know.  1,724)  Making messes in my art journal.  I’m really beginning to enjoy the play aspects of it.  Maybe a better way to put it is that I’m enjoying the process and not giving a hoot about the outcome.  1,725)  Watching a video of the Little Wookie and the Little Peanut as they sled down the Sledding Hill at our old place.  The ice on the pond is finally thick enough for them to go down the hill and out onto the ice.

Priceless gold.

Author:

Robin is a photographer, artist, writer, yoga teacher, sometime poet, wife, mom, grandma, daughter, sister, friend, and occasional traveler currently living on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. She shares her daily walks and meanders, a lot of quotes, some of her artwork, and a lot of her photography here on Ye Olde Blogge. Older posts can be found at Life in the Bogs, her previous blog. Robin and her husband are (still!) in the midst of renovating the house and cleaning up the 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.

27 thoughts on “A Monday meander: A Saturday hike

  1. Gorgeous sunset shots, as always. 🙂 Your hike sounds wonderful– our landscape is so hilly, that flat walking sounds so leisurely – and your mystery find is a Reindeer Lichen (Cladonia sp.) It is very much alive as it can dry out to preserve itself and then rehydrates with the next rain. I LOVE lichen and never tire of looking at the different types, from shield lichen on tree trunks and rocks to the foliate types that billow in lovely forms like what you found. I’ve heard that they are sensitive to pollution, so when you see them growing, it is a good sign.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you so much, Eliza! I knew I could count on you. 🙂 I thought it might be. It reminded me of the lichens we saw (long ago) in West Virginia (in the Dolly Sods Wilderness area, as it’s called now), but I wasn’t sure reindeer lichen would grow here. I tend to associate this type with colder climates (I was wrong). I love lichen too. It’s so beautiful and some of it shimmers in the light.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m glad you called the police on the two men intimidating the clerk at tractor supply. Bruce and I were talking last night about the fact the grocery store at home, and I’ve seen it at other places too, puts a young person out in front to ‘make sure everyone wears masks,’ and seriously what do they expect that young person to do when someone is determined not to wear one? Kuddos too, to your police, for coming promptly. There is some question in my mind as to whether our police would. It’s not just the not wearing of the mask it’s the intimidation that bothers me. People are afraid to ask a person to do what is safe. Here at the lake with no TV (I didn’t even know it was superbowl weekend) I can sort of forget all of this is going on out there. But then I talk to my husband and I realize not much is better yet. So I’ll stay here for awhile longer.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think staying is a good decision, Dawn. Things are a mess out here in the world. I was surprised the police showed up in time (or showed up at all). The timing was actually quite perfect, with the guys walking out of the store just as the police pulled in front of the store. They could clearly see them walking out, no masks on their faces. I don’t think it should be up to the employees to enforce mask-wearing. Maybe it’s time for them to hire bouncers. The bars here aren’t open. It will give these big guys a job and something to do. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Beautiful images. I really like the one of the doll. Yes, men like the ones you encountered are everywhere. I’m so tired of laying low, but they keep prolonging them. Freedom is not about me, me, me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Sarah. 🙂 So true (about prolonging things and freedom). Unfortunately, there are a lot of people who do think it’s about me, me, me, including some in the yoga and wellness industries (who have taken up the Q flag and co-opted the word “sovereignty” to mean you don’t need to wear a mask).

      Liked by 1 person

      1. wow. I’d think yoga people would be more aware. Though in the trucking industry the word they’ve adopted is “flexiblity” which is code for “letting us do what we want to make more money and safety be damned.”

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Same. Sigh. I listen to a podcast called Pitchfork Economics, and today, Nick Hanaeur, the host, noted that “the world is made up of ideas.” It certainly is. Some are right, some are wrong. Some are good. Some are bad.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. The reindeer lichen is very frequent ( is that a good word?) in Norway – mostly found on high altitudes – but also I find it in the wood close by, and I live ca 300m above sea level. Our version of it is much whiter and stiffer. If you look closely, they may look like little trees. I used to paint them white and make bookmarks of them – stitched them to a stripe of black felt. stitched a white tree at the bottom and then stitched stars up to the top

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Beautiful photos, Robin–except for that creepy doll! (That. one could give me nightmares.) 🤣
    I’m glad you called the police, and that they took it seriously. I know sometimes stores are afraid to insist because they’re afraid some whackadoodle will get violent. Such are the times. Sigh.
    I “watched” a few minutes of the Super Bowl–to eat with my husband and to see Amanda Gorman–then I went upstairs to watch something else. I’m glad you got an ID for your mystery plant.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. The turkey tails and lichens are wonderful! And your moss close-ups are so green and lovely in the winter woods… I agree, the dried ferns are beautiful ~ lately I’ve been falling in love with all the shades of earthy woodsy brown. I enjoyed walking in your state forest with you.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Love your golden photo of the sunset as well as all that lichen. The colors are amazing! The creepy doll lying in all that ribbon? Um, not so much. Looks like something from a horror movie. So you’re having incidents with people refusing to wear masks, too? Sadly, I think it’s invaded all parts of our country. I understand the childish desire not to want to be told what to do, but good grief, can’t they do that in the privacy of their own homes … away from others? This is a pandemic, for Pete’s sake, and we’re all in it together. Only by working together and respecting each other will we emerge from it. Guess they’ve never heard of sacrifice.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m to the point in winter where all photos of natural color call to me. It’s all grays and muted browns around me, lovely but I’m ready for something more. In other words, thanks for sharing your colorful world here.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You’re welcome, and thank you, Ally. 🙂 We still retain a lot of green here in the woods, along with the blues of sky and water. Even so, the browns and grays dominate in winter.

      Liked by 1 person

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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