Almost 40 years ago my Dad bestowed a wonderful gift to me. He wanted me to own land in PEI “so you always have a place to call home” was his reasoning and I didn’t argue.
So we agreed on a price and seventeen acres of his (pride and joy) woodland was deeded over to me. This land was carved out of the “Scully” property in the 1940’s so without question it was something I knew I would always cherish. Dad continued to cut firewood there until he could no longer. He loved ‘the woods’. And he passed that love on; when I’m there in ‘the woods’, I am in heaven.
This fall day was spectacular, sunny skies and a warm stiff breeze and 17 degrees. It was a perfect day for a stroll through ‘the woods’. We drove the jeep into the field edging the property as close as possible. The sun was high in the sky and the wind left the streaks of clouds resembling ‘angel’s wings’ everywhere. I grabbed my phone “click” to enjoy later. “Later”, I realized the camera caught more than the naked eye. Today we are not alone on this stroll through the woods.
The path/road is still there and cuts through the middle of the property. A lot of wood has been cut off – we’re not sure who would do that. Unfortunately I don’t live close enough to monitor traffic in and out. The path looks well used with tire tracks possibly made by ATV’s and snowmobiles in winter. Hoof prints appeared in the mud here and there. “The woods” has attracted many. I guess I’m okay with that. It is too beautiful not to be enjoyed.
Moist grasses and fern still vivid green and a stream in the middle of the woods concoct the most wonderful pungent aroma. We stop and breathe. Birds and squirrels flit about calling out to their friends to warn them of the intruders in their space. If only we could bottle the scent and sounds. Nothing like it!
We take a second path back. It was rough going and I worked up a sweat climbing over fallen trees; sliding on spongy moss covered logs; and de-tangling my sweater from low lying branches. I was relieved to see the clearing appear through the mess of branches – I’m clearly not used to ‘bush whacking’.
We choose a tree for our front yard. Christmas is six weeks away and I don’t want to miss this opportunity. In front of us, standing tall and alone amid fallen and otherwise scrappy bush is a beautiful fir tree. Without question it will be perfect for all to enjoy. I can almost see my Dad smiling. He would be so proud and thrilled to know a tree from his ‘woods’ will be decorated this year.
I wasn’t quite done though. A few days later I head out again with my daughter and grandson to gather the bay berry, red branches and boughs and birch sticks to create a winter scene for the front doorstep. Laden down with cutters, garden gloves, a saw and rubber boots, we climbed over many a ditch to gather our treasures. With some help from a little pair of hands we were done in no time!
The best part of all the outdoor fun was the fact that it was all a gift from nature. With a few lights and recycled pine cones from previous years, the urns will soon be transformed into Christmas glory.