As part of my new social-distancing, sheltering-at-home routine, I take a walk every afternoon. Getting outside helps me burn a few calories and, even more important, keeps me from going absolutely stir-crazy.
Most days, I walk around the neighborhood, greeting at a safe distance any fellow exiles who are also strolling. But on Sunday afternoon, I took a road trip to get in my walk on a piece of land in Edgecombe County. It’s roughly 250 acres of fields and woods that my husband has hunted since he was a boy. He served as my guide so I didn’t have to drop bread crumbs to find my way out.
We parked the jeep just beyond this dilapidated barn. I ventured inside, hoping to find one of those big old tobacco baskets like I remember from my granddaddy’s pack house (if you were ever involved in grading tobacco, you know what I’m talking about and understand the tobacco jargon I just used; if not, just keep reading).
No luck. Just a bunch of junk. As it’s falling down, though, this barn speaks to me of days gone by.
We walked past fields that will soon be planted. Right now they’ve been fertilized with chicken manure. I’m glad you can’t smell through the printed word. Let’s just say passing by was the least enjoyable part of my walk.
Soon we came to a path in the woods. Robert Frost popped in my head: “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood….”
I know: there’s only one road and it’s not autumn. Still, there’s something about a road in the woods, isn’t there? You just have to follow it.
And follow it we did. For almost four miles. We passed all kinds of cool nature stuff, like these fungi growing on a log. Notice the symmetry here in the two groupings of three. How did that happen?
Even prettier were these dogwood blossoms. I love a dogwood tree in the spring. Not only are its delicate white flowers a pretty sight, but there is also the legend that is of particular significance this time of the year.
The story goes that Jesus’ cross was made from the dogwood tree. As a result, God decided that the dogwood would from that time on never grow large enough to be used for a cross. Thus, the dogwood is a small tree that often grows beneath larger ones. Also, the flower of the dogwood has four petals, making the shape of the cross. Sometimes these petals are tinged with red, signifying the blood of Christ.
When you’re in the woods, you have time to remember stories like this.
I’ve never been to the Great Dismal Swamp, that vast wetland in northeastern North Carolina and southeastern Virginia, but I imagine it would look something like this swamp I passed during my walk in these Edgecombe County woods.
Of course, no trip to the farm would be complete without checking out a tree stand used by my deer-hunting husband and his extended deer-hunting family. Once in a while, I do get a nice piece of venison from all that deer hunting.
Out here in the peaceful woods and still-sleeping fields, the coronavirus seemed far, far away.