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We Are Flying Solo

October 15, 2011


This forest has been cut over multiple times.  In the clearing where Solo and I stopped, I could see tertiary growth, immature pine trees at close ranks, the usual suspects in recolonizing slashed hardwood stands.  Except for one:  a solitary oak, half dead limbs, half tiny leaves, hanging on at the top of the hill, gnarled boles refusing to give up the last gasp.  It has survived at least two clearcuts, the only thing standing as far as I can see that is more than ten years old.  Perhaps it knew the original denizens of this ridge and I wonder how it got lucky and weathered the storms and the saws and the years.

An autumn wind rushes through the tree tops; its sound is the soft roar of surf on sand.  I close my eyes, blocking one sense to open the others.  Solo shifts his weight beneath me, grazing on his favourite weed and the leather of the saddle creaks.  There's a soft jingle from his bit, the grind of his teeth and a muffled stomp as he discourages a torpid, late-season fly.  A few fall grasshoppers chirrup in the trees and I can hear the footsteps of a young buck who passed by moments ago as he moves among the already-fallen leaves.  All else is beautiful silence. 

And the air.  Cool, but sun-warmed when it hits your skin, it smells of Forest, it smells of Life, of the clean, sweet breath of the woods that is Home.  You can almost hear a patient sentience in that air, of the intricate and vitally alive, yet so incredibly quiet many-geared mechanism that is that ecosystem.  To participate in that and to breathe in that sense of being is a gift that grows no less cherished with numerous givings.

Turning for home, Solo swings readily onto the trail and part of the spell is broken as I must open my eyes and duck the spiderwebs that are too high for his bright ears to break.  But it's still a treasure, shared with a best friend, the memory of which will tide us over until the next visit. 


  1. Such a nice Walden+Pony moment...

  2. Thank you! Hee hee, Y_E, channeling one's inner Thoreau.

    Kate, I am cracking up at your avatar, Encore does that exact same thing with his stall guard, silly boy!

  3. Thank you for taking to your place!

  4. Dang, that made me homesick! I miss the fall, my absolute most favorite-est time to ride. Thanks for sharing.

  5. E-79, I can't help it... If you've been researching every single detail about HD Thoreau for the past few days to write a ridiculously short college essay about why he is your inspiration, you really can't help but become the very essence of transcendentalism. ;)

  6. It is a pleasure to share!

    YE, ROFL!!!