One day while in Maine I went for a hike on a sunny September day. I had often driven by the head of the trail but always had some other plan. But this day my goal was to trek to the end of the trail that captured my heart. Called Little Moose Pond, the trail wound on and I soon found my breath coming hard. The trail wound up, and up and up and up, then down a bit before climbing again. I soon lost sight of the forest around me as laboring legs held my mind. I rested quite often, water refreshed, an apple too for a snack (a honey crisp and the best apple ever). After a break, I shouldered my pack, picked up my stick and went on (my stick is an old one, 20 years now, and etched with the names of fave trails (my very fave though is mighty Old Speck; I climbed him first as a teen).
I hiked over the mountain to a brilliant blue pond hidden deep in this forest of Maine. Overhead, the sky held a few wisps of white cloud not yet shaped into shapes to describe. At my feet, the crystal clear water of Little Moose Pond lapped at my ankles as the breeze whispered through the treetops. The rippling song of the water soothed my soul and reminded me why I look forward to September. A natural seat of driftwood, bleached white in the sun, offered a seat to me. So I sat in the seat and after a while closed my eyes and let my mind soak up the woods and the pond, the sounds and the wind, and the buzzing of insects around me. The longer I sat the deeper I fell under the magical spell of the forest. Soon I began hearing things taken for granted, ignored in a run of the mill day. The smells of the moss, the boulders and leaves, the earth ‘neath the sole of my boots took me back to a time long ago when fairies and elves filled my mind. I imagined back then the forest was full of the things folks deny believing today. But real they were to a young reading boy his books taking him far, far away. This day though, the books far away, I found myself wondering why. Why do folks not look under toadstools or sneak up on fairies and sprites? Why must they pretend they’re too old and too smart, that fairy tales are only for kids?
I kept my eyes closed not wanting to end the magic the forest had brought me. But then a soft touch and I opened my eyes: a dragonfly was resting upon me! Now, the magic of forests, and elves and gnomes, too (probably fairies, as well, I’d think), say dragonflies symbolize change, a change in the perspective of self. I agree with the wisdom of forest folk (who am I to say otherwise?). I can solemnly attest that my hikes in the forest, up and down mountains, across deserts and plains, and all my years sailing the Seas, have given me insight to the deeper meanings of life. My busy workday and care of my home, tending my roses and yard, don’t keep me from forests and fairies and elves, and dragonflies too, as I seek more understanding of the world around me.
My hike in the forest and dragonfly visit, the glimpses of fairies and elves, haven’t yet slipped to the back of my mind, though they certainly will given time. So every September I head back to Maine to refresh my soul and visit the forest sublime.