We’ve always known that the land was not ours. Brief, fascinating encounters with its true proprietors have taught us that. We’ve stood pinned under a porcupine’s tree staring at quivering quills, unwilling to trust our Wikipedia-inspired knowledge of quill-throwing potential.
We’ve been taunted gloriously by corn-veiled coyotes howling at the moon.
We’ve seen snake skin, turtle eggs, deer racks and bear paw prints; giant turkey flocks, elegantly single herons, and twin bald eagles.
Once, during an evening drive from a neighboring cottage to our cabin in the woods, we spotted 26 different deer preparing to bed down in the ditches along the road.
My husband Vince went toe-to-claw with an owl that refused to yield a narrow path.
We’ve seen enough to know…we don’t know anything at all.
And then, Vince and his friend Tom finally mounted a trail cam I bought him for Christmas and we got a good glimpse at what really goes on in the woods. I thought of Emerson’s famous quote, “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there’s no path and just leave a trail…cam.”
Let me tell you, path or no path, I’m never jogging alone through those trails again.
A big black bear poked his nose right into the camera lens. A skunk waddled past. Several bucks strolled through and then, a bobcat and her two kittens moseyed into the frame.
All of these animals are far more interesting to us than we are to them, but still…
Andy Warhol once said, ” I think having land and not ruining is the most beautiful art that anyone could ever want to own.”
I seriously hope we’re up to the challenge.