The Woods

“Reading about nature is fine, but if a person walks in the woods and listens carefully, he can learn more than what is in books, for they speak with the voice of God.” – George Washington Carver

I worked Friday evening and Saturday so I’m enjoying a Monday at home. I woke slowly and walked before doing anything – including having a cup of coffee. The weather is beautiful and coastal Carolina is green and lovely again. The woods always have a way of grounding me.

I grew up in Southern California – which is basically desert. By late spring and definitely summer, the world turned brown. Winter and early spring are the green seasons in SoCal – as the infrequent rains are more frequent in the winter. I love that most of the year here is green and lush. I live next to a river. But it’s also next to a highway and a bridge over that river. In the winter, I see the constant movement on the highway, as headlights can be seen through the woods. When I returned from California recently, the trees were full of leaves. I hardly see any headlights from the highway now. By summer, the less I will see the highway that borders the river and lies beyond the woods. The kudzu, that dies back in the winter, will once again cover the trees with even more green. The growth will increase so much in the next few months, that the river can only be seen from my second story.

Although I love the salt air and the constancy of the ocean. There’s something restorative about the woods. I’m looking forward to spending time amongst the redwood forests, soon.

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms…”

— Henry David Thoreau

It’s the Little Things

Trader Joe's Flowers, Trader Joe's Daffodils, Daffodils, Elaina Avalos

It’s the little things that mean the most, sometimes. The joy – for me, is in the hike in the forest, when the only sounds around me are the birds, or the wind through the pines, or in the view from my kitchen window.

In no particular order, here’s where I’m clinging to the little things & the way they bring me joy & delight . . .

1. Fresh daffodils in my favorite vase.

Kitchen Window View, Trees, Woods, Elaina Avalos

2. The view from my kitchen window.

3. The hope that God’s plan, which I can’t fully see yet, is far better than my own.

Your Plan and God's Plan, Elaina Avalos

4. Memories of our chats (and maybe even arguments) are priceless to me now. Your defense of me, support, our conversations, and your eyes (maybe also your cologne) – are the best thing in the absolute mess of the last few years. I miss the joy I felt being around you. I truly miss you, my friend.

5. My quiet home.

6. Being heard.

7. Sunsets.

Eastern NC sunset, Carolina sunset, ENC Sunset, Elaina Avalos

8. New to me songs…

Honestly, it’s the sweet moments, in my quiet house, with these little “things” – that have helped me feel like I’ve finally returned to myself.

So what are some of your favorite “little” things?