There are so many birds out here in the woods that I put earplugs in so I can sleep past dawn every morning. I do–it just can be so deafeningly loud. And one bird just tried to come inside. There’s a screen on this window, but he fluttered around to check it out.
“What are you doing?” I said to the bird. “You have to stay outside.”
He was only three feet away, so I know he heard me. But he just fluttered around some more, looking for the way into my room. Then it cheetered as if in a huff, and flew away. It was very small and purplish, but I don’t know what kind it was. The woods are very exciting this time of year.
Yesterday there were six large turkey vultures nested together on the cedar tree outside. It was really something. I wasn’t sure how those spindly branches could hold that weight without snapping. The vultures travel in a group, you know, and most of the time, they look for dead bodies. I am a writer, but I admit I am stumped as to what to compare these vultures to. Thankfully, nothing comes to mind for “beings who group together looking for dead bodies.”
One thing you may not know about the woods is that the shortest distance between any two points is through the woods. I’m not kidding! For example, our mailbox is more than half a mile away–if you’re driving. But if you just take a walk down the trail, (and then are willing to kind of stumble down a steep slope, mostly on your behind) you can get there in s only about five or ten minutes. Voila.
So too with tonight’s book event. Ladies and Gentlemen, tonight I am the featured author at a book group that meets—and I’m not kidding—through the woods. They are not meeting in the woods—that would be a little weird, and, of course, it gets dark and buggy by 8:30pm. No, instead there is a book group meeting at the neighbors, the next house up. They are a retired dentist and wife who live in a log cabin not unlike our own. They aren’t super close, I mean, I’ll have to walk about twenty minutes… through the public-owned woods and then past a deer-blind and through some woods owned by people who we never see. But to be honest, I’m walking there because it is the shortest way. If I drove to the book group, I would either have to: 1) take the car up the road that we never, ever drive because it is a gravel road without gravel-=the county calls it “Grade B, Not Maintained”, or 2) drive all the way to the highway and back down the neighbor’s gravel road, which would feel really silly and take approximately forever.
The shortest distance to this book group (who are discussing my book “My Family and Other Hazards” tonight, is to walk through the woods. Which I will do. As the sun sets. Along the ride about 50 feet above the river. (A great hardship, as you can imagine.)
“Bring a flashlight,” my husband said.
“I’ll probably walk along the road on the way home,” I replied, “but yeah, I’m taking a flashlight.”
It’s very exciting to me to take a walk in the woods to arrive at a little party where I will be served a glass of wine. You know, small exciting things. That’s what life is all about anyway, isn’t it? Small exciting things? And they just all read my book. So… that’s very cool.
(And after this little excited rant, you kinda hope I don’t slip in the dark and slide down the ridge towards the road below, don’t you? )