Enter this wild wood

This photo was snapped just inside the gate to our wooded wonderland, April 2008

This photo was snapped just inside the gate to our wooded wonderland, April 2008

Stranger, if thou hast learned a truth which needs
No school of long experience, that the world
Is full of guilt and misery, and hast seen
Enough of all its sorrows, crimes, and cares,
To tire thee of it, enter this wild wood
And view the haunts of nature… William Cullen Bryant

The poem from which these lines are taken describes so well the reasons I treasure our little wooded lot that adjoins the back yard of our York home.  This is perhaps the first place I’ve ever lived where I loved the lot as much, or maybe even more, than the house itself.  While this bit of land could never be called a forest, nor even a “wild wood,” it still holds the charms of which Bryant wrote so eloquently.

Our little patch of woods contains a small creek, part of our local protected wetlands that can never be cleared or developed regardless of who owns it.  Of course, I wouldn’t want to clear it even if we could!  In this little kingdom I have shared space with deer, rabbits, birds, turtles, lizards and squirrels (and probably a few reclusive snakes I’d rather not know about) who pass through or live nearby.  I would never want to ruin the feeling of being miles away from everything, yet still right in my own back yard.

Do you have a favorite wooded spot — a bit of land on which you live, or one near your home, or a public park with lots of trees — that you visit regularly?  If not, I highly recommend you discover one.  Ideally, there would be at least one small clearing where you could sit and read, or picnic, or maybe even doze on a folding lounge chair.  Or just walk quietly amid the sights and sounds of the forest, and note how many different ways nature can be heard when one stops to listen intently.

Such spots are beautiful all year round, but now, before the leaves start to fall and the weather is still warm enough to make the shade refreshing, I hope you will get away for a walk in the woods.  As Bryant attests, it’s a balm for what ails you!


  1. HarryS

    I just want to applaud your tremendous effort and dedication. 🙂

    • Thank you, Harry! I really appreciate the support, and also your visits here and comments.

  2. Carlyle

    Our 5 acre home plot in Fayette County Georgia is the place we have lived the longest time of our 64 years of marriage. Thirty years! Though our land is half wooded and the many oak trees have become massive, giving the impression of living in a deep forest. This feeling is magnified by the fact that the adjoining land, totally wooded belongs to a rather eccentric neighbor who refuses to sell or develop it. More to our advantage. Just us and the wild critters in the “wild woods”.

    • Yes, and do you realize I’ve never even seen most of that 5 acres? Just the path to and from the garden. The home you lived in the second-longest (which is the one I grew up in) also had some nice woods and even a good-sized pond, which we kids always referred to as “the lake” adjoining our back yard. So I suppose I come by my love of wooded lots naturally. Among other things, being so close to woods and water used to result in a swimming pool FULL OF FROGS whenever there was a hard rain. I never did understand the connection between rain and frogs, but we did get used to co-existing with the critters! Nothing I love better at night than the sound of rain, but the sound of crickets and other chirping insects is a close second.

      P.S. maybe the eccentric neighbor is onto something – and I hope nobody ever petitions to put in a shopping center or other development “for the good of the community.” Not to open an can of worms, but “eminent domain abuse” has been a hot topic lately here in Virginia.

  3. Sheila

    Julia, to have such a refuge is a special place and it comes with a feeling that unites one with God. Willow Tree is our special “balm” for so many reasons. I think it was so therapeutic for Bill to go there after his rounds of chemo and working. He loves it in a way I can’t even describe. I hope Jeff feels the support for y’all …. the thoughts and prayers. We just never know who is praying for us. Love, Sheila

    • Thank you Sheila! We do feel the prayers, and appreciate it so much. It’s the only explanation for how we (and especially Jeff) can keep on going. We spent a good part of the day at Bethesda today; after Jeff’s radiation they sent him to dermatology where they drained most of the fluid off the enormous blister covering the bottom of his right foot. But not before taking several photographs of various open sores and blisters since they all said it was the most severe reaction to Xeloda they’d ever seen (I’ve been spelling it wrong). Your description of Bill and his love for Willow Tree reminds me of Eric and Dad’s love for The Nocking Point (the lakefront property, named for an archery term). They have some sort of primal connection to being in the woods that goes a bit beyond my love for it. I’d never want to spend a night out there, for example, (at least not without an RV or a cabin or at least a tent) though they often have. It must be some combination of Eagle Scout, Redneck and Chiricahua blood!

      • Sheila

        Julia, I’m so glad that Jeff is being seen in dermatology, hopefully he can get some relief. Bill’s condition, Pemphigus, was blistering of his mouth. I know Jeff is fighting so hard and “C” doesn’t like that! With y’all in the fight, Sheila

        • Thanks so much, Sheila – for being “in our corner” in this fight! 🙂

  4. Please watch for a book entitled “The Woods out Back” to arrive near your woods, next weekend 🙂

    • Wow, what a lovely surprise that will be! Thank you!!!

  5. “Do you have a favorite wooded spot — a bit of land on which you live, or one near your home, or a public park with lots of trees – that you visit regularly?”

    Many of them. I love ‘going to the trees’ 🙂

    • That’s wonderful to hear. This is one place where you get the kindness you are spreading to others! Being surrounded by trees has a wonderfully calming effect, I find. And the calmer we are, the kinder we tend to be. At least that’s been my observation. It seems that impatience is at the root of much rude behavior. Thanks for your visits here, and for your comments!

  6. Thank You, BeLOVE Julia. praying with you and giving thanks.~ Ps. 32:7 Please give a hug to your ‘boys’ so that they can return it to you.

    • Thanks so much Kate, for standing alongside us in prayer, for sharing my links, and for encouraging our faith. I hope you have a wonderful week ahead. Blessings to you and your family.

  7. What a treat to walk out the back gate of your own home into such solitude and beauty. We aspire to find such a place to call home too. For now, we are enjoying the Edmonton River Valley. It’s miles of paths and walks down to the river are the perfect place to cool off on a warm day. It’s a little oasis in the city that is luckily only a short walk away.

    • It sounds wonderful. I remember one of the first posts I read on your blog was about a walk in the snow, and you had several photos that made me feel as if I was there. I loved it, especially since we don’t have too much “winter wonderland” around here. It’s so nice that our cities have these walking trails to enjoy. There are several in the DC area that we’ve never made time to explore. I hope that Jeff will get well and we can take some time to enjoy the trails while we still have our place up here!

      • I hope you and Jeff will be able to explore so many more places together soon too. Gentle hugs to you both.

        • That is my hope, and I’m not going to turn loose of it unless it becomes absolutely, positively certain that I have to. Until then, (and even longer, as Pooh would say) you make great company on this winding road with all its ups and downs. Thank you so much!

          • ❤ Together is better, in things that count the most. xK


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