Thursday, July 5, 2012

A Day in the Woods

Perhaps you’re thinking this post is about a trip I took to the woods.  I see those posts often in various blogs…pictures of trees and camping gear, backpacks…that sort of thing.  And, in fact, I had wondered about doing this post for a while since in my case it would probably be more appropriate to write something entitled, A Day in the City.  You see, I live in the woods.  Via the miracles of technology I’m able to send you these writings, but aside from being “connected online,” I live an isolated life.  You might recall I’ve mentioned there is a hamlet about four miles to the south of me.  Four hundred people or thereabouts, but I seldom go there other than to check for mail at the Post Office or pick up something at a little Ranch & Farm Supply store. Aside from that my trips to “the world” are few and I like it that way.

I read an article recently about this fellow who wanted to make a selfbow using primitive tools. He had a nice collection of rocks so he acquired a few good flakes and set to work making his bow.  But he could never leave the concept of time out of his essay.  Throughout his story he kept telling the reader how quickly he was performing the work.  “It only took me ten minutes to chop down the sapling.”  “I had the stave floor-tillered using my hand-axe in less than an hour.”  And so on.

But live in the woods and the idea of time—as it relates to accomplishing a task or anything else—becomes superfluous.  You see, the concept of time is only important to those who must live their lives by the clock.  I imagine that primitive people thought little of time and concentrated more on simply accomplishing the task at hand.  Ask a Neolithic man how long it took him to make his bow and he would look at you wondering, “Why is that important….I have no idea…I started and I finished…Does anything else matter?”

That’s exactly how it is for me living in the woods.  I wake up and get to work.  I eat when I’m hungry.  I go to bed when I’m sleepy.  I have work to do…I do my work…I finish the job.  All the while the woods are but a few feet from my cabin.  I have a yard of sorts but it’s really nothing more than a somewhat cleared area beyond my front door.  I also have a storage shed and workshop about 100 feet from the cabin.  Perhaps you’ve seen my post and video entitled, “Using a Machete with a Gancho hook.”  I made that video when we were building the storage cabin.

That, my friends, is my day in the woods.  As I write this post I can see a number of birds at my four watering stations in my “front yard.” Here is a list of the birds I’ve seen in the past two days:
Rose-throated Becard (gravis sp.)
painted bunting
brown thrasher
curved bill thrasher
white-tipped dove
mourning dove
ruddy ground dove
common ground dove
Inca dove
Eurasian collared dove
black-crested titmous
green jay
bullock's oriole
hooded oriole
Altamira oriole
ladder backed woodpecker
golden fronted woodpecker
greater road runner
yellow billed cuckoo
great kiskadee
cactus wren
vermilion flycatcher
bobwhite quail
Harris hawk
Great-horned owl

Looking out the window to check on the birds is an ongoing affair.  I’ve had birds nesting all around and, like an expectant father, I’m watching for new hatchlings. It’s been quite hot lately but, of course, this is a South Texas summer and to be expected.  What I find amazing is the weather in other places and especially the wildfires. I have a cousin who lives in Colorado Springs.  Her emails have been alarming. She and her husband were within a few miles of the devastating fires.  I have a friend who lives in Ruidoso, New Mexico.  He was plagued by a wildfire a few weeks ago.  Hope things are going okay, Leroy.

Last night I listened to a great-horned owl and several pauraques and now and then I’d hear a screech owl. And so it goes. There is always something new to see or experience.  I’ve received a number of emails asking me to write more about my life in the woods. I will oblige my readers.