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Wind and woods

caleb.eckert's picture

Walking to the site, I inevitably made too much noise. I didn't have the padding of snow to quiet my steps, so the crunch of sneakers on underbrush and synthetic fabric rubbing together must have alerted everything living around me that I was there. I tried to make the short venture quickly to not attract too much attention—from humans or birds or rabbits or whomever else lives near these woods.


I felt the chill of February through my gloves. Leaves, the brown shells that still clung to the trees, clattered their collaborative song in the breeze. The wind pressed in, and for a moment I was at the bottom of an ocean, looking up, listening to waves of wind and woods pull back and sweep through. Above, a canopy of naked twigs became seaweed, wind-waves crashing just above the treetops while the woods moved with the motion. All was breathing deeply and slowly. Inhale, steady, shiver, exhale, rattle, rock, calm. I noticed how big the sky looked and how fast the clouds were moving beyond the branches.


In the moments between wind-waves, a few wrens and sparrows talked from tree to tree, perhaps to themselves, and a far away squirrel cut through their conversation with loud agitated screams. I listened for a while, not understanding what needed to be shouted across this land. Should I be more alert? Should I prick up my own ears and relay that alarm (if it was an alarm at all)? So much cold, grey, silent decomposition. Distant clouds still opened up here and there for a little more sunlight on golden-green ivy, and a little warmth for the solitary yelling squirrel who had stopped for the time being. Today, it felt like the woods—plants and birds and squirrels included—were in a half-hibernation, waiting for spring or maybe just a warmer, calmer day.