Nature Blog#15

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Backwoods Nature Blogging

Returning to the Woods by Doreyl Ammons Cain

     A hike in the woods on a cold winter's day has a way of making me feel totally alive. With invigorating crisp air filtering through every fold of my clothing and filling my lungs, any thought of tiredness dissolves. Winter & Spring at Nature's Home has become my husband Jerry and my favorite times of the year. We hike our trails and work the land without summer's overheating. Twenty years ago, when we first moved into the woods, I would not have dreamed this would be so.

     I remember how skittish and frightened I felt at Nature's Home after the sun went down and darkness settled in all the cracks & crevices. Trees turned into dark figures, and the leaf crunching of wild animals sent chills down my back. Gradually these fears dissolved as I began to relearn about and understand the land and it's creatures. Winter appeared dark, bare and punishing cold. Getting used to camp-like living has been quite a learning experience. In the beginning, when we were building the yurts, water system, grey water pond, composting systems and our storage shed, we were spending 90% of our waking time outside. We cooked and washed dishes outside in the snow. When the spring water pipes froze, we were out shaking the pipes and trampling in icy sluggish water, all for a hot shower or fresh drinking water. I began to dread the winter.

     When I was a child growing up in the mountains, I'd wake up to icy cold floors and race to the wood stove to warm my hands and feet. My bath in the metal wash tub behind the stove left my teeth chattering. Central heat was only a far away dream of the future. Even so, living in the woods fascinated me. Ice crystal trees and water falls frozen into stillness stimulated my young mind to learn more about nature. The mystery of the billions of life forms I found while exploring, kept me busy all day. Eventually my curiosity drew me as an adult to college and universities to study plants, trees, animals and even the human being. I became a biological and medical artist. Returning to the woods, after 30 years in California, has given me a chance to become a child again. Although now I can appreciate the hard work that my parents went through to live off the land.

     Jerry and I still most of our waking hours outside in the woods when we're home.

     "We've got the biggest living room of anyone I know," Jerry laughs. "It's the whole mountain here at Nature's Home."

     The stars and sky make a light painted ceiling and the earth a soft mossy carpeted floor. It is a palace beyond compare. Even the winter shares it's beauty with us now... in our home in the woods.

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