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Quoddy Head, Part 2

>> Thursday, July 29, 2010

The woods at Quoddy Head are not like any other woods I have ever immersed myself in.  They are dark and quiet and mysterious, and have this faint whiff of fairy realm about them.  All the mist up there on that point makes everything so, so green.  Moss and lichen cover earth and rocks and trees.  There is little undergrowth other than the thick, lush moss.

Lots of little streams run through the woods, often in channels so overhung with moss that they are hard to spot.

The trails are thrillingly compelling.  How can anyone resist walking down all of them?

I spend much of my time there torn between darting quickly down the trails because I can't stand another minute of suspense about what will come next, and stopping dead in my tracks to appreciate some particularly appealing detail.  I stop for a whiff of balsam coming off the trees in the sun along the coast, or a patch of particularly soft moss, a delicate flitting in the trees above my head signifying the aerial presence of a bird, or the delicious gurgling of a wood thrush's song.  Most often I stop to photograph mushrooms.  Oh, the mushrooms!  Tiny etherial little beings.  I will do an entire post on them... at least one.

Most of the time you have no idea that you're near the coast.  The hush of the woods is so intense that you can't hear the crashing waves, even when the cliffs are quite near.  Then suddenly, there is a reminder of the ocean's presence, sitting beside the trail.  Or occasionally the trail will pop out onto a rocky cliff, leaving you blinking in the sunlight and disoriented by the contrast.

Then just as suddenly, the trail will return to the cool, quiet greenness.

Something about spending time in those woods makes me feel as though, if I stay there long enough, I will turn into a dryad or a bowtruckle*.  I can almost feel my limbs turning into angular wooden arms and legs, and am certain that if I leap upward with all my might I can land right in the branches of the trees.  When Lucy takes advantage of my spending a long time photographing a mushroom and falls asleep, I have a fleeting moment of fear that some fairy queen has put her to sleep with a spell, and she will have to stay there on her bed of moss for 100 years of enchanted sleep.

Even the delicate wood sorrel takes on a certain air of enchantment in the way it carpets an entire swath of the forest floor with its symmetrical leaves and delicate striped blossoms.

It's all so magical, that the woods of Quoddy Head have left a deep impression on me.  I shall think about those woods often, I am sure, and the memory of my few stolen days of grace there will be a source of solace for many years to come.

* For non-Harry Potter fans, a bowtruckle is a small wooden tree-guardian that lives in trees that are used for making magic wands.  They are made of bark and twigs, and live off woodlice and fairy eggs.


Woodswalker July 29, 2010 at 9:49 AM  

How immediately you convey this experience, both in words and in photos! Thanks for taking us along with you into this enchanted place. I laughed out loud at your shot of Lucy asleep, with plants springing up around her as if to absorb her into that woodsy world.

squirrel July 29, 2010 at 3:03 PM  

Your woods are so lucious. Beautiful photos and that one of Lucy made me just want to kiss her on the nose.

Woodswoman Extraordinaire July 29, 2010 at 3:08 PM  

Thanks ladies. Luscious is a perfect word to describe those woods. And re: Lucy, her nose is sort of infinitely boopable, isn't it? But I guess I'm biased.

swamp4me August 19, 2010 at 1:36 PM  

Haha...we are kindred souls. Your eye was caught by the same images mine was...but again, your photos are so much better than mine! Thanks for sharing.

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