a thing made of holes

12.7.21 ~ Pequotsepos Brook Preserve, Stonington, Connecticut

Properly bundled up for the weather, we had a nice long walk in this 44-acre nature preserve a couple of days ago. It was originally part of 500 acres given to Capt. John Gallup in 1643, a reward from the royal court in England for his part in the Pequot Massacre.

the first colonial stone slab bridge we saw
lovely moss greenery in the dull landscape
path cutting through one of many stone walls
looking up into an old oak, a “wolf tree”
a relic from farms of the past when trees along the edges of open fields
could spread their branches without competition from other trees
leftover autumn leaves
Tim was captivated with this tree,
which grew sideways before it grew up
windswept pine needles
backlit oak leaf
pine sapling nursery

There is a time in life when you expect the world to be always full of new things. And then comes a day when you realise that is not how it will be at all. You see that life will become a thing made of holes. Absences. Losses. Things that were there and are no longer. And you realise, too, that you have to grow around and between the gaps, though you can put your hand out to where things were and feel that tense, shining dullness of the space where the memories are.
~ Helen Macdonald
(H is for Hawk)

tangled up
breaking down
Pequotsepos Brook running under another colonial stone slab bridge

It was a sunny day, 41°F/5°C, with a feels-like temperature of 34°F/1°C, due to a moderate wind from the northwest. Connecticut’s positivity rate jumped to 8.33%. Sobering, indeed. So grateful we still have the woods to explore and fresh air to breathe.

31 thoughts on “a thing made of holes”

  1. What a nice post. Even Winter holds a beauty if we just open our eyes. I loved the quote by Helen Macdonald. A perfect description of life.

    1. Thank you, Peggy! The Helen Macdonald quote struck a cord with me, too. Winter’s beauty reminds us that we can still grow as we cope with our losses.

  2. Awesome photos and text! I also have photoed that plant who sprouted under a dense bush – it has to grow horizontally for quite a distance before it was out in the air. I chose the photo as an avatar for years 🙂 I love those leaves too, Barbara – SO colorful and beautiful and deep. Thank you for taking us with you on your beautiful hikes

    1. Thank you, Leelah! I love that you can relate to growing sideways for years before we can fully breathe and start growing up, finally reaching for the open sky. 😊 The leaves seem to call to me, bright spots in the drab landscape, even in their gently fading glory. You are the one who recommended “H is for Hawk” to me, for which I am very thankful! 🙏

    1. Thank you, Frank. I’m finding hiking in the woods holds as many lessons in living for me as wandering by the sea…

  3. It is so wonderful that we can get outside and enjoy nature even during this pandemic. Earlier this year–in Australia–my niece wasn’t allowed to even go outside. I think that’s stretching things a bit too far.

    1. I’m so grateful our quarantines weren’t so restrictive or I might have lost my mind! Tim’s brother in England was in the same situation as your niece in Australia. It’s good scientists finally learned that we’re safe enough outside.

  4. Looks like there were a few storms over the years. Trees can be so resilient.
    I loved H is for Hawk…one of my all-time favorite books.
    Seems like we are getting the post-T-day bump in numbers. And there are still so many mask-less people out there. Makes going to stores a nerve-wracking affair.
    Stay well, you two!

    1. Sometimes I worry on our walks because sometimes we can hear branches falling off trees, once Tim even saw one snap off about 10 feet away from us.
      I loved “H is for Hawk,” too, and wonder about her other books.
      The only store we go to is the grocery store and I’d say 80% of the people there are still wearing masks, even though the local mandate ended Nov. 22. Stay safe, Eliza!

      1. Yes, we are wary of walking in the woods on blustery days, too. But we probably have a greater chance of being hit by lightning or while driving a car than being crushed by a limb or tree. Life is full of uncertainties! 😉
        I read Vesper Flights last year, and while it wasn’t like the former, I still enjoyed it. What I liked in H was how seamlessly she wove three stories into one. A remarkable feat.
        I will be wearing my mask for a long while yet while visiting public places. Asians have been wearing masks for years, and I can see the wisdom in that.

        1. I see the wisdom of continuing with the masks, too, and plan to keep wearing mine in public places for the foreseeable future. Reduces the risk, like wearing seatbelts. Living with life’s uncertainties can be a real challenge for me at times, sometimes I cope pretty well but other times it seems I let my fears multiply and disrupt my peace of mind. Since I love poetry so much I was considering getting Helen Macdonald’s “Shaler’s Fish: Poems.” (I’ve got too many books! I need to get my library card renewed and brave a trip to the library again…)

  5. Yes, as long as we can get outside and enjoy the things Mother Nature shares with us, we can hang in there, huh? Interesting how some of these trees grow out, then up. I’ll bet they’d make a perfect “seat” for anyone wanting to rest and read!

    1. Oh yes, getting outside to enjoy the natural world has been my saving grace, Debbie. There seems to be a lesson about growth that tree is offering. I think Tim would have had a seat on it if there hadn’t been a brook between it and us. 😊

  6. That was a perfect quote to use as you see less and less spots of color as Fall progresses into Winter. I like the little green touches – the moss greenery or the pine needles. I like the backlit oak leaf too. You have to wonder how those sideways or misshapen trees survive. Your stats are sobering – ours too and our positivity rate as of yesterday was 13. Sigh. Thank goodness for our walks which help get us through this never-ending pandemic.

    1. Thank you, Linda! I knew Michigan was having a very rough time but I gasped when I read that your positivity rate was 13%. So many losses… People that were there and are no longer… I hope we can grow around and between the gaps, like the determined sideways growing tree. I hope that number will start coming down, soon. I wonder if the new pine saplings will change the look of this woodland as the years go by. And I wonder how much our society will change and grow to the side, too.

      1. I hear the stats daily and gasp as well. I am glad I have no errands to go on right now although I have a monthly allergy appointment for shots on Wednesday – I’m still debating whether to stop the shots for the Winter and resume in Spring like last year. I keep hearing about breakthrough infections and that worries me as a person who lives alone and has no family. Even a mild case of COVID, not requiring hospitalization, may render you weak or feeling very ill – what if you couldn’t take care of yourself? You sure don’t want to go into a hospital right now. I’m not willing to take any chances. I remain masked up when I step outside the door. I really enjoy it more when I’m by myself at the Park anyway. I hope we can adapt as well … but remember this time last year when we had the exciting news of the first vaccine being given … we thought it was the cure-all. And now the idea of a fourth vaccine down the line is being bandied about. I wonder if we can count on 2023 to be like we knew it? Also worrisome is what climate change is doing to our weather. Today my favorite meteorologist said that the snowy and cold Decembers that Michigan knew may be a thing of the past – our precip now will be rain or freezing drizzle due to climate change. We had over an inch of heavy rain which was worrisome as we had the high wind gusts for 12 hours, so I imagined trees being uprooted. I feel lucky – no power outage and the wind subsided, but my landline is out … went out about 5:00 and there is an AT&T outage throughout the state. The fact of having 36 tornadoes in six states just terrifies me Barbara. The pictures were heart-wrenching.

        1. I can see how living alone and having no family would make you so anxious during these times, with breakthrough covid cases mounting and the horrific storms brought about by climate change. Very frightening times, especially when having to face them by yourself. I’m starting to wonder if we’ll need a booster shot every six months… The devastation caused by those tornados is unbelievable. Now that we have pictures from above from drones instead of helicopter cameras it all seems more vivid and hard to comprehend. I was crying as I watched the footage and also the survivor stories yesterday…

          1. And tonight we have a shooting in my city and the shooter is on the run. Great! The Pistons basketball game has been on the radio instead of news since 5:30 p.m. I saw it on the Facebook Community Forum. Sent a screenshot to the radio station newsroom – they wrote back that the police won’t comment on it. Hmm. He’s not been caught though – a mile away is too close for comfort for me. Yes, there are times when living alone during crises like these is daunting – to me anyway. I have become an excessive weather worrier as I’ve gotten older – not a good thing since climate change is bringing so much erratic weather. I agree we’ll be getting boosters regularly, even more frequency than a flu shot. I can’t imagine how it must feel to lose everything in a matter of second. I feel for them too Barbara – how do they go on?

          2. Oh dear! I do hope they have caught the shooter in your city by now. Seems like it’s one thing after another. Two restaurants in our town have gone back to take-out only due to covid outbreaks in their fully vaccinated staff. It’s weird how many people are going about their lives as if the pandemic is over and then there is a new outbreak. My sister reports a new outbreak at the college where she teaches. So far she’s tested negative every week and has never given up wearing her masks. Keeping my fingers crossed…

  7. Beautiful photos that quietly counterbalance the threat of Omicron that hangs over us. I love nature, but the kind that involves trees and paths, not viruses.

    1. Thank you, Ally. Nature does have her dark side, that’s for sure, but it’s wonderfully refreshing to get outside in the woods and appreciate her positive aspects.

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