Walking with Nature
My Walks with Nature
In the woods near my house, I've encountered many different creatures and plants. And I have learned from them all. And felt their touch.
Walking in the woods is, for me, walking with nature. I feel nature with me as I walk and that presence can be awe-inspiring.
I am so grateful to live in this little house in the woods and to experience the continued presence of nature. And I would like to share that with you.
Trees are My Companions
When I first walk into the woods, I feel the presence of the trees. From the tiny hemlock seedling to the large oak, trees are companions to my soul. To me, they are beings.
The early spring wildflowers greet me as I approach the spots where I know they'll be found.
A breeze may cause their small stems to sway or some little critter may scurry away.
I bend down and gently touch their tiny flowers to say hello.
I walk along this path and the woods embrace me.
I am in the presence of the deer and other creatures
who have also walked this path.
A little further along and, aha, there's something beautiful!
I look more closely and even peer at the underside of this special mushroom.
Never saw one like that before. Makes me feel special to have seen it!
The fledglings have left this beautifully constructed nest.
It's made of birch bark and grasses, intricately woven together with spider webs, and lined with pine needles.
The nest is only about 2 inches in diameter and about five feet off the ground.
Wonder what type of bird built this fine nest. Perhaps a hummingbird? Can't help but admire it.
I hear a red squirrel scolding me. Looking up, I finally see it, but it now seems more interested in other things than me.
Sometimes these little critters can be quite persistent in telling me how much they disapprove of my encroachment on their territory.
I, on the other hand, fully enjoy their company - even when they scold me.
This sea of ferns speaks to me of peace and healing.
Flying with the Hawk
I've flown with the red-tailed hawk over the treetops and open spaces, feeling the wind in my feathers, looking down, far down below.
Soaring so high is exhilarating and fills me with awe.
This feather from the red-tailed hawk reminds me of those times.
Now, standing in the woods, I hear in the distance this hawk's high-pitched call and know that I'm still walking with nature.
I see something moving close to the ground. I stop and stay still, waiting for it to move again.
Ah, there it is! Now, slowly and quietly I move closer and peek down into the leafy undergrowth.
A wood frog! What a treat to get a glimpse into the world of this little frog!
I head back home with a lightness in my heart, remembering all I've seen and heard during my walk in the woods.
As I come over the last rise and look down toward the house, I see it. A moose has been visiting my house while I've been away!
I stand still, hoping to observe it for a while, but it has heard me coming and flees.
Moose are a rare sight near my house, since they tend to stay at higher elevations.
View from the House
I so appreciate seeing this view and how it changes from hour to hour,
day to day, and season to season.
Later, after being back home for a while, I look out the window and see this beautiful white-tailed buck. Maybe a yearling.
I feel so privileged when critters come so close to my house. I know, even here, I'm still walking with nature.
Evening Comes and the Full Moon Rises
Watching the full moon rise in the East always leaves me with a sense of awe.
The Barred Owls
I wake during the night to hear the sound of the barred owls calling back and forth. Hoo-hoo-hoo-hoo, they say.
I think back to the early days of this house, before the walls were up. I was sitting on the just-built decking. There were two owls near the house, calling one to the other, and flying from tree to tree, right over my head.
I fall back asleep, peaceful in the knowledge that I'm still walking with nature.
Walking with Nature - Spring and Summer - Photos from my walks in the woodsClick thumbnail to view full-size
Walking with Nature - Fall and Winter - Photos from my walks in the woodsClick thumbnail to view full-size
Observation Tips for Walks in the Woods
Walk quietly, pausing occasionally to listen, and you're more likely to see animals. Or find a spot along an animal trail, a ways back from the trail, and wait. Dawn and dusk are good times.
Watch the ground for animal tracks and scat, areas where animals may have bedded down, or where animals have passed through tall vegetation.
Look at tree trunks for signs of bear claws (especially on beech trees), for holes made by woodpeckers, or holes where cavity-nesting birds have made their home.
You might also see the places on trees where white-tailed bucks have rubbed against the bark, marking their territory.
Observe trees to find birds' nests as well as tree-climbing mammals such as squirrels, chipmunks, and bears.
Locate birds by listening for their songs and watching the trees. A good pair of binoculars will help with this. Some birds are found more often on the ground, so check there, too.
More on Nature Awareness
Tips and techniques for enhancing your awareness of nature and your ability to spot wildlife.
Describes techniques for experiencing nature more deeply, using all five senses.
Article explains how to widen your field of vision and become more aware of all that is around you. By Jon Young.
Excellent article on listening to the songs and calls of birds in order to determine what kinds of other animals are moving about in the woods around you and where they are located. The focus is on expanding one's hearing and awareness.
Identifying Animal Tracks
Articles on identifying the tracks and sign of many different mammals, including bobcats, foxes, coyotes, mountain lions, raccoons, skunks, deer, and more. Provides photos and descriptions of each type of track.
Fascinating article about animal tracks and signs in the snow, including squirrel, mountain lion, coyote, bobcat, and rabbit. Includes video about how to judge the age of tracks.
Tips on identifying animal tracks, including deer, elk, bighorn sheep, mountain lion, bobcat, coyote, black bear, and raccoon. Includes illustrations of the tracks and information about how make casts of tracks.
Identifies four key points to becoming effective at tracking in the forest. Discusses the mindset necessary to track animals using other means than just their tracks.
Mammal Tracks & Sign
Practically an encyclopedia of information about mammal tracks, trails, beds, burrows and dens, scat, and signs of feeding. Full of beautiful, detailed color photos. Highly recommended.
All photos were taken by the author of this lens, who retains the copyright.
All comments are greatly appreciated.
Thanks for stopping by!