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Change of seasons

October 23rd, 2003 · No Comments

The other evening, after Ted left to go to a meeting, I took the girls on a walk in the Grand Forest. I’ve been meaning to do this for a while, as it is #7 in Tracking the Otter, a series at the local library exploring the island and its history. For weeks the book has been sitting on my desk, but the weather has been so wet and rainy. Tuesday afternoon, after naptime, though, it was dry enough, so with boots on feet we headed down the road to the woods.

By the time we got there, it was already beginning to get dark. Cars on the road had their headlights on. People were leaving the park as we were arriving. We planned to make our walk a quick one.

Inside the forest, the light was getting dim. Between the height of the trees and the shade of the sky, there was a sense of gray, signalling the start of sunset. We walked on a path, winding through the woods. Abigail looked up to find the tops of the trees. “Is that how far away California is?” she asked, trying to determine, in her own universe, in her own perspective of distance, how tall the trees were.

The trees are mostly evergreens, cedars and firs, some pines, with feathery branches. Other faithful plants such as huckleberry and salal add to the green year round. But – thanks, I hear, to the first deforestation and clearing of the island a century ago – there are also plenty of deciduous trees in island woods, alders and maples among them.

As I looked around the forest, I saw that the maples had changed color. In the dimming light of evening, these maple trees glowed yellow. They were like shafts of light radiating through the woods. Bright against the greens and grays of woods at autumn nightfall, these changed trees illuminated the darkness, like something come down out of heaven.

And I thought to myself, perhaps it is the things that change in our lives that bring us light.

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