These are my woods, and it was a rainy morning, but they certainly are lovely, dark and deep.* I took this photo on my way out of Roundrock last Sunday (you remember — when the clouds of horseflies bedeviled me). I took it from the comfort of the front seat of my truck (though I did put down the window briefly).
This bit of forest is at the extreme western end of my property. Immediately behind me as I took this shot is the property line.
What I was shooting, of course, was that clearing through the trees. It’s a lovely bit of open ground with very short grass growing on it. I have many clearings like this at this end of the forest. I think they were where the burn piles were when this part of the old cattle ranch was cleared. (That was thirty years ago, so I wonder if the consequences of the burns so long ago could still affect the growth here.)
The clearing would make an ideal campsite. I’d guess it’s about twenty feet across and fifty or sixty feet north to south. It is close to the road, so we wouldn’t have to haul our gear very far. The ground in there is flat, and as I said, the grass is short, so it won’t harbor a lot of ticks or chiggers.
But being close to the road is a problem as well as a benefit. We could be camping here and the interlopers or bachelor party could come driving by and decide to stop for a visit. The last time we camped, the bachelor party did come roaring past on their ATVs. Fortunately, we were farther in the forest where we couldn’t be seen or they might have stopped by.
I’ve said before that I don’t really mind that people drive back into my woods. It helps keep the road clear. I’ve never found any trash. And I’m pretty sure that anyone who does come in is from one of the other nearby pieces of property, so they are probably like minded about privacy.
Except for the Mystery of the Pines. I’m still pretty sure that was deliberate vandalism, and I don’t think I’d like to run into the people who did it. When I was out at Roundrock on the day I took this photo, I stopped by the pines and checked for further damage, but they were unmolested. Still, it happened once, and that leaves a bad taste.
But these clearings remain. I visit them periodically. (They all run north to south — or south to north if you prefer. This is what makes me believe they had a human agent as their cause.) On an overcast day, they seem to glow back there in the trees. If it hadn’t been for the horseflies, I might have lingered.
*It bugs me that I didn’t use the serial comma at the end of that sentence, but the poem doesn’t, so I didn’t.
- Young gray squirrels search for home territories.