poetry and prose about place

a trail through grey woods

with 8 comments

In our grey woods, an old trail follows the top of the slope, between the trees.  It takes constant care to keep it free for walking.  The spruce are old and every winter takes down a new raft of trees.  My husband works at it constantly, cutting a way through the fallen logs and filling the hollows with wood chips.   

When I walk there, I always find something I haven’t noticed before.  Yesterday I made three discoveries:

A maple seedling sprouting in the cut surface of a maple tree felled for firewood…

A pair of bracket fungi on a fallen birch log (notice the shadows of fern leaf on the surface of the fungi)…

 And various other types of fungi, sprung up after the rain…


In each case, the discovery was about hope – life from death, new growth from decay.   

The woods have so many lessons to teach… I only need to slow down and look closely to learn.


slow walk in the woods



more to woods

than a path between trees

slow pace

check perspective



discover texture on trunk 

scar and indentation

detail in the duff upset

by careless feet


note how light scatters

through pollen and powder

now sifts slantwise, shadow

on brackets of fungi

light from lichen



slow beat and breath

match the stealth of forest, realise

branches gather rain

an hour before they weep


© Jane Tims 2005

Written by jane tims

September 17, 2011 at 7:02 am

8 Responses

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  1. The woods do indeed have many things to teach. I’ve been learning from my woods, just as you are learning from yours. 🙂



    September 18, 2011 at 7:48 pm

  2. Thank you for pointing out the shadows of fern leaf on the bracket fungi – I would not have noticed them otherwise! I love walking in the woods and these lines in your poem: “light scatters through pollen and powder” and “light from lichen chandeliers.”

    Before my father became wheelchair-bound he used to maintain some paths in the woods on his property, in much the same way as your husband does now. He walked along them with me, forever pointing out things with his cane… Thanks for bringing back some pleasant memories.


    Barbara Rodgers

    September 18, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    • Hi. I’m glad you liked the poem. I always think walking itself helps me to remember, something about the rhythm. Jane


      jane tims

      September 18, 2011 at 5:57 pm

  3. Nice finish on the poem Jane. Great lines slow beat and breath
    match the stealth of forest, realise
    branches gather rain
    an hour before they weep.

    Like the shadow of the fern on the fungi.



    September 17, 2011 at 11:14 am

    • Hi. I’ll be looking for shadows on surfaces after this. I’m glad you like the poem. I wasn’t certain about the word ‘stealth’ but I don’t think it comes across as sinister. Jane


      jane tims

      September 18, 2011 at 5:51 pm

  4. Beautiful! New growth from an old tree is one of my most favorite images. Greatly encouraged me during some especially challenging years. I had not noticed the shadows of fern leaf on the fungi before.

    “Branches gather rain/an hour before they weep” Lovely…


    Ellen Grace Olinger

    September 17, 2011 at 9:06 am

    • Hi. I didn’t see the fern shadows until I brought my photo in to edit! Thanks for the comment on my poem. Jane


      jane tims

      September 18, 2011 at 5:47 pm

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