On the Thursday of a Writers Retreat

The walk along the creek here at Woodthrush Woods is familiar to me, but it feels different than it did in September. In the fall the trees were distinct and individual. I noticed mushrooms and the textures of bark. In June these things are obscured by fresh green growth and somehow the trees feel more like a backdrop. I walk the trails anyway, waiting to see what might catch my eye. Mostly I just get a sense of welcome. In no legal way do I have ownership over this forest. I am a guest who has been fortunate enough to be invited twice. Yet in some unmeasurable way it feels like this forest belongs to me, or perhaps I belong to it. The trees, plants, and land must stay here when I return to Utah, yet I take something home with me.

Howard and I walked together by the creek when the fireflies were out. They turned out to be more abundant on the lawns, but the creek walk was lovely on its own. We saw a pair of snapping turtles in the deep, slow portion of the creek. They’d not been there during the day. We only saw them because they swam away from us to hide under the roots of a tree by the bank. We walked through a spiderweb on the trail back. This was not unusual, but this one stuck itself to the front of Howard’s glasses. It could be seen there, glistening threads in a classic web pattern. Hopefully the spider leaped to safety. I have no argument with forest spiders. They can eat all the mosquitoes.

I am so glad to have Howard here, that he’s being able to do some writing despite the annoying computer he has as a writing machine. I have thus far done very little writing. Instead I have spent most of my energy as support crew, putting out food, putting away food, washing dishes, running laundry, and going grocery shopping. The spaces have been occupied with business email, conversations with my kids, and catching up on the sleep I missed during my travel delays. I still have time ahead of me in which I can write, but only a day or so of it. My trip is shorter on both ends than I would have preferred. It is what it had to be, but some other year I hope to come early and stay late. All signs point to there being another year during which I’ll be invited. I am glad. The company is excellent and I love this forest.