So, I spent a sunny afternoon hiking in the woods and hills with my camera: my first hike of the season. At first the woods seemed discordant: the oaks still winter-bare, hardly in bud, and the usually cool, shady forest was hot and sunny. I usually find the forest at once soothing and inspiring -- but I just wasn't feeling it.
But, tucked under the edge of a fallen tree, right at my feet were tiny little flowers. Mayflowers, delicate little stars, white with the tiniest hint of pink., set off against generic little apple-green leaves. Soothing and inspiring, my hike redeemed.
(Too bad the pictures just didn't come out)
Further down the path, a little stream. We're not far from the Connecticut River, which is at spring flood right now. But this stream was full, but cheerful not rushing. There are smooth pools behind fallen trees, and gurgling ruffles over stones. The edges were lined with brilliant green plants, surprisingly lush. The leaves brilliant green and folded slightly, adding lines of sun and shadow.
Someone had built a sturdy, simple bridge with concrete pilings over the stream: but what's the fun in that? Its predecessor, a pair of wobbly, warped pressure-treated boards placed directly on the muddy banks, was just a few feet further down. Much more picturesque. I wobbled myself, crouching down, to dip my hands in the cool water, sun touched where it ruffled over the rocky bed.
If you've looked through my photography, you might have guessed: I'm fascinated by the reflections and patterns in water. There were no other hikers around, so I could sit to my hearts content, watching the stream ripple and reflect, trying to get in 'on film'. (Note to self: find a technologically appropriate phrase, 'on memory card' just doesn't work)
I ended up hiking for hours (my muscles remind me now) up the rocky hills and along the stream bank. The trails are not terribly well maintained, and on my way back, I found I'd meandered off my path. I've got a GPS unit in my backpack, a cell phone, it's daylight, I'm standing right next to a river I can follow if I really needed too, in a pretty tame patch of woods, with major roads on all the borders and I'm perhaps 50 feet from the path. No reason to be worried, unless you're the sinking feeling in my gut.
I got back to path no problem, and on my way, almost as compensation, found a beautiful patch of flowers I've never seen before. (If you can identify them, I'd love to know). Almost like compensation for that bit of worry ... or a lesson in getting off the beaten path. In any case, I'm grateful for one last, wonderful surprise.
And a surprisingly wonderful shot.
This is one of those gifts from the photography gods when holding the camera out, blind, underneath a flower and madly pushing the shutter actually works. The only retouching: boosting the contrast back to something like the flowers' natural tone. (I didn't even crop, and I crop everything!)
And with that, Happy Patriots' Day everyone!