the things you find in the woods

It’s pretty quiet in the backyard these days, and even the deer aren’t stopping by. But a walk in Reservoir Woods the other day produced some surprises, even if the wildlife weren’t cooperating.

I hadn’t visited this area since last spring when the warblers were here, and I didn’t notice this fir tree then, but with its bright Christmas decorations against the white snow, it’s hard to miss. I photographed the tree 8 years ago, when it was barely head high — and look how it’s grown.
Apparently, it’s become a tradition to decorate this little tree each year, and where the tree was decorated with mostly natural products like sumac seed heads and goldenrod flowers in 2012, now it has a wide variety of bulbs and home-made trinkets donated by what must have been dozens of individuals.

Continuing on down the trail, I found a variety of forts had been built around some of the cottonwoods and oaks in the forest. Some were simple constructions that might fit one pre-teen sized kid inside…

But one was a mammoth collection of sticks and logs, measruing about 30 feet long and 15-20 feet wide, with multiple niches inside for shelter.
Entry to the “fort”. I wonder if fort building is part of the P.E. program at virtual school now — at least it seems some kids (and maybe adults) are spending a lot of time outdoors during our covid quarantine.

But this next find was the real gem of my 4 mile stroll through Reservoir Woods.

This one made me chuckle, and I had to explore what was behind the little red door in the woods.
It seems to be Merlin’s Cave and it still has a present inside.

Even with all the very bad experiences that 2020 brought us, there are also quite a few pleasant surprises. People who take time to decorate a lonely little fir tree and who bring a moment of joy to a walker with their humorous construction are just a few of the “benefits” of time away from our usual busy routine to think more creatively, to get out and enjoy the natural world, maybe leaving a little piece of ourselves to bring joy to others.

7 thoughts on “the things you find in the woods

  1. I especially enjoyed this. The little door looks like one of my drawings. We find odd things down here in the desert too. I once found a brand new fancy fishing lure way out in Tucson Mountain Park. And perhaps 3/4 mile from where I’m typing this, on some private acreage just outside the park, is a big grave with a cross. My friend posted the backstory about it on his bulletin board. It’s been there for years.

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