Let’s Care For the Land that Gives Us Our Health

A June hike to the high peaks of New Hampshire guarantees a generous welcome of wildflowers. They have a brief blooming period before the plants begin forming berries. Our wet spring inspired an awesome array of blossoms.

This is a big year for Jack-in-the-Pulpits. Right now, Jack stands in his purple robe on the raised pulpit under a canopy like those found in old churches. Later in summer, Jack transforms to green berries and by fall the berries ripen to reddish/orange, holding next year’s seeds.

This is also a great year for Bunchberries, the plant with Dogwood family’s four little white petals, each pinched on the outer rim. By fall, bunches of red berries will appear bearing next year’s seeds.

Probably one of the reasons many of us find a woods walk or mountain trek so satisfying has to do with our just being another forest roamer checking out what happens in the forest, not just thinking about whatever we’ve done poorly, not about aches and pains, just about the wonder of all the beings in the forest, all the different trees with varied shapes and needles and leaves, and they all get along in their shared space, and remind us that we are part of the forest family.

It feels good to recognize and greet the trees, plants, mosses, ferns, the birds with their magical songs. Sometimes the birds even join us, out of curiosity, I suppose. A little Red-eyed Vireo hopped along the trail beside me one morning for several paces, enjoying the day together. The Vireo pecked around for vittles. I picked up stray branches we humans could stumble on and fling them away, a simple act of trail maintenance inspired by AMC leaders many years ago. It’s a way of saying, “Thanks!” to the forest and all the trail crews who do the big stuff.

Further up, near running water, Sphagnum moss mop-heads present themselves- all soggy and ready to go- keeping air moist, fresh, and breathable. Rocky trails, bounded by younger trees in all the right places offer a reliable assist over slippery rocks.

Finally the trail opens above treeline. Even with wind, it is a balm to be there, excited about the reliable assembly of rocks, and krumholz,  and finally,  mounds of Diapensia, Bearberry, Labrador tea, and any other regulars who have dropped in.

Ah…, New Hampshire…, how good to be here! Now to honor our forest by assuring whatever protection it needs so that we all share the possibility of good health in every day ahead.



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