On Walks in the Woods and Nerding Out
It was recently my birthday, and really, all I wanted to do was to escape back to the warm open arms of my hometown and decompress. I'd been going non-stop for weeks, running around like a nut and frankly, the most luxurious thing I could think of was wide stretches of lazy time.
Mission totally accomplished. We ate good food, watched movies, read, went to sleep early...it was glorious.
On my last day home, my mom and I took a walking tour through the woods with the Greenwich Tree Conservancy, a group she does a lot of work with. I'm not sure how much I've mentioned this, but my mother recently became a Master Gardener (go mom!). A lot of her studies so far have involved identifying local Connecticut trees and bushes. She volunteers at a local arboretum as something best described as "tree detective".
So here I was in the woods with my mother and a dozen other tree nerds, who identify Tulip Poplar trees and witch Hazel flowers with the same excitement that others watch a football game. I know a whole lot of nothing about trees but I still felt like I was with my people. Because when it comes down to it, nerds are nerds. I love people who get excited about the minutia of things because I get it down to my very core.
I love seeing my mom so into trees because it's the same way I get into japanese craft books now or how I got into post-modern Feminist art in college or how I get into episodes of Buffy always. When I'm in it, I'm in it all the way.
Lately, I have been completely needing the woods too. It seems to be something that calls everyone in my family at somne time as they age. My aunts and uncles and grandparents just keep moving further North, further into the remote pockets of New England, like some strange ancestral howl is calling for them to do so. And it's happening to me too. Slowly but surely...
Note: I wrote this before Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast. I'm stuck on the west coast right now, at my dad's house in Arizona, in 85 degree weather and under sunny skies. I hope the woods of Connecticut didn't take too much of a hit yesterday and that everyone on the east coast is safe, sound and sleeps peacefully tonight.