Monday, October 3, 2016

Oh, the perils we face

Garfield Falls

Trailhead: N45 3.1032  W071 7.8642

In the New Hampshire woods you'll find what you're looking for. I seek high drama, preferably from a distance and especially this time of year. For instance, I like to feel the roar of the falls. That  thunder underfoot reorients the soul nicely. For extra impact, the spongy soil broadcasts the boom of the falls through a network of porous bone. The more grounded you are, in my case that means size 10 boots gripping the soil, the better to receive the full effect. And, yes, massive water still pours off the boulders, mushrooms push through the thin carpet of leaves and well-fed fox trot along, cocky as ever. As for the horny bull moose, they are gearing up....

I am interested in tenacity, which is probably why I see it everywhere. Here is a leaf that has fastened itself in the bough of a fir. Hang in there! Said leaf is unwilling to let go quite yet. Someone else will read this scene quite differently. Perhaps an artist will find that it is reminiscent of a dynamic composition: The leaf provides near garish relief amid so much brown and green.

This tree fungus is opportunistic. It found a weak spot, a canker on a sturdy trunk, and burrowed in. Perhaps the relationship is symbiotic but what I see, and I spot this intrusion from a great distance, is persistence. This little life form has found a place to dig in. Hurrah! In time it may compromise the tree. I wonder, though, how a fungus gets a foothold on a healthy tree? In time this tree will fall and cede its substance back to the soil from whence it came.

Not everything is deadly serious. I encounter frivolity here — stark white fungi sprouting milky frills all over the forest floor. Lighten up, everyone. Lose the drama for a second. Have some lunch!

Life hangs in the balance. There's no other way to interpret this wrenching struggle as the once great tree clings to the bank, tilting ever closer to the east branch of the Diamond River. I'm seeing that tenacity only gets you so far in some dire scenarios. On the other hand, what better way to explain this feat of balance than sheer tenacity?

Buried in a small crevasse, bounded on all sides by rock, a small brown mushroom prospers. Protected from the elements and rodent teeth, this little domed soldier digs in for the duration. 

Adios, little wonderland full of stories. Surely you'll have more after another winter in the North Country.


  1. Beautiful writing, Rae! Congratulations for winning the best blog post of 2016 from the American Society of Journalists and Authors! Well deserved.

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