It is a perfect spring day: 75° at 3 pm. Sunny. Calm.
Wouldn't any mushroom enjoy poking its head above the spring soil on a day like this?
So, with that in mind, I decided to spend some time in our woods (well, not ours, not legally ... our two acres were broken off the 40 acres when we moved here in 1987; this woods was part of the original plot but it is not owned by us). The soil is damp from recent rains. The grasses and spring wildflowers are in bloom. Tiny insects have awakened from their winter sleep and are threading their way among the trees.
I have not spent any great amount of time in this woods for the past three years. In fact, the only time I can go there is this time of year, before the allergens do me in. In mid-summer, the woods are too overgrown, too green, too buggy.
I first came upon this old buggy left lying on the soil who-knows-when ago. I've always marveled at the wooden spokes in the wheels. It is slowly falling apart, dissolving into the soil. The metal frame makes me think it is 20th century but, if so, I think it dates back to the earliest years of Pinehaven.
The rubber wheels are just about decayed.
I would love to know who left it here, what they last used it for, why they abandoned it at this place. I would love to know the date and what the day was like. Was it sunny and warm, similar to this day? Or was it a winter's day, the cart cast aside in the snow? And where does that person rest today? Did he consider me, some future sojourner, peering into the past, wondering?
When I am up this way, I always look for the old Pinehaven outhouse. Or, as I discussed in my blog on March 28, 2011, is that not what this is at all? It's been nearly 37 months since I stood in this same spot and took a similar photo. Have a look at it by clicking here. How has it changed?
Returning home, I came across a clearing in the woods. It is oddly devoid of trees and sunlight pours down from above. Why do no trees grow here? There are no stumps. Nothing seems to have been cut. The soil is certainly not sterile ... weeds grow abundantly. I came upon the spot by seeing purple in the distance, calling me through the trees. What was this color blanketing the ground?
Violets! Thousands of mature violet plants. They are natural plants here so they were likely planted by themselves. The spot is protected among the tall trees, isolated from any foot traffic. It's a violet oasis mid-woods.
Of course I came here to look for mushrooms. I did not find the first one.
Instead I found the past.
Later (04/27/14) ... I've walked back to the woods this morning with my Canon in hand (yesterday I had but a cell phone to take pictures with). I wanted to get a more detailed shot of the violets. I had some trouble finding the spot again, even though I've been there many times. The woods is fairly deep and being early morning the shadows were long and dark. Eventually I saw the roof of the "outhouse" and knew where the violets were in relation to it.
The sky was partly cloudy but the sun shone through the opening while I was there. Though the woods is overgrown, this spot is a small floral oasis in the midst of chaos.
All of the violets in this spot are the traditional purple-blue ones. I've seen white ones elsewhere (including our yard). These must be genetically pure.
And how often have I passed this heavy metal frame at the edge of the field? It was lying there when we bought Pinehaven and it lays in the same spot today. While it slowly rusts, I doubt it is much changed in the past three decades. Think of the winter winds and snows, the summer heat and storms. It lays there draped over a rock and I suppose it will lay there many more years before someone decides to move it.