Stepping carefully, trying not to break the twigs under my feet, I have gone off the path to enter a shrine of broken decaying logs, fallen leaves, mosses and lichen.
I find myself a seat on solid wood and breathe in the moist wood and decay of autumn-how I love the smell of the forest!
The sound of people’s voices and the tap tap tap of a woodpecker enter my awareness. I am curious. Where is it? Staying seated, my eyes scan the trunks of the surrounding trees. Pieces of bark are floating to the ground. My gaze travels upward and I see a large bird with a red crest. What a joy! It’s a pileated woodpecker! I watch it for a while and take a picture. It is not close enough to capture a good image on the camera… but it is imprinted in my mind.
The leader’s whistle blows; I exhale a satisfied sigh and return to the group.