Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Summer Visits To Woodland Valley

Here is a lovely piece that WCA member Johanna Jordan sent to me about Woodland Valley. Thanks for sharing your memories of Woodland Valley with us Johanna!!

Summer Visits to Woodland Valley

 Of course, I only know Woodland Valley as it is in the summertime.  In the more than sixty years I have been visiting, I have only been when there is snow on the ground three times. Once when I was in college, during a snowstorm of at least a foot, three college friends, my brother, and my father stayed at a neighbor’s winter-ready home across the brook for a weekend. (We carried our supplies from the state road.) Once for a few days in mid-March when the snow was melting and only patches remained. And once around Thanksgiving for less than a day, just to see if we could be warm enough in our cabin in 20 degree weather.  We couldn't. 
 So mostly I know the fullness of June foliage, the exploding population of birds, the irritation of champion no-see-ums and mosquitos, the pleasures of unfurling ferns, the crowds of various butterflies, the mysterious stillness before thunderstorms. Dawns loud with birdsong, deer in their fresh summer coats almost orange, parent birds nesting and feeding, the long long dusk with the song of the wood thrush. Late summer nights with the sound of katy-dids. Owls calling to each other.  Once, sitting up at night, terrified, I heard the dying scream of an owl's prey.  Once, saw mother bear and cub.  There were deer foraging right outside the bedroom window.  Red squirrels.  Grey squirrels. Flying squirrels. Once a porcupine crossed the brook not 10 feet from where I sat, completely unaware of me.  Skunk.  And the raccoons that we used to feed and learned not to. Chipmunks. Mice. Evidence, that one year, that beavers had tried to build.  Once a mink.  Several times, otters. The show-off dance flight of the hummingbird.  The flame azalea between our cabin and our neighbor’s home covered with dozens of tiger swallowtail butterflies. Staying up at night to see stars.  Shooting stars. Satellites. The Milky Way. Walking at night. Berry picking years ago.
 And always the brook, Woodland Creek.  The clay banks, and making things of clay.  Creating dams.  Moving and just plain throwing rocks. Learning the brook by walking in it. Getting to know it really well. Always the sound of the water.  When I stop the car after our long journey, turn off the engine, step out, I am flooded with the special quiet of the place, and the special sound of the brook, never stopping, different in different seasons, but always there, always comforting.

Johanna Norgren Jordan