On August 9, 2019, I hiked the North Country Trail from Smith Lake Road in Kalkaska County toward M-72 to enjoy the serenity of tiny Smith Lake which is surrounded by woods, wetlands, and no signs of human habitation. It was the height of summer and a sweet breeze accompanied me.
The trail started out through a cutover section where logging had occurred. It always makes me sad though I understand the need for people to utilize the many benefits wood has to offer. As I approached the lake, the woods returned and I immediately felt at home.
On this Walk & Write I was startled by a great blue heron who was not happy to see me invade his lakeside home and later by an electric blue skink who slithered under the log where I chose to sit and write. They were both too quick for me to take a photo. No matter, it was the trees I came to see. As I absorbed what the trees had to teach me this day, these were the thoughts that transcended from my mind’s eye (photos follow):
- Canopies of green peace
- Wounds becoming pouches to raise seedlings
- Exposed roots clinging to earth like an old man refusing to die
- Fallen heroes lying at the feet of soldiers still standing proud
- Work of art rising from ashes
- Peeling skin exposing a skeleton
- Harbor for insects, tiny morsels like caviar to a woodpecker
- Material for human needs, perhaps helping us find our way
- Cemetery of scattered bones
- Hold on, hold on, hold on.
The next time you take a walk in the woods, take time to notice. Notice the birth, life, and death of trees. Notice the gifts they offer. Then offer a prayer of thanks.