poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘ephemeral stream

the location of our picnic table

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Back in our grey woods is a place we don’t visit regularly any more.  Our picnic table is there, in a mossy area among mature spruce and fir, at the top of a slope.  It overlooks a wet spot in the woods.  In the spring the wet area becomes an ephemeral stream, and a series of vernal pools among the mosses and ferns.

down-slope of the picnic table is a ferny area with an ephemeral stream... the dark areas in the photo are pools of water

Once, almost 28 years ago, the space was perfect for our new picnic table.  The table was given to my newborn son by his Great-Aunt Jane and we took considerable care in choosing its location. 

our picnic table in the woods

In years past, we took a picnic lunch there regularly.  Sometimes I went there to write.

Today I pass the table when I follow the path through the woods, but I haven’t stopped to eat a picnic there in years.   Another family has taken over, probably of Groundhogs (Marmota monax).  They have built a labyrinth of burrows among the tree roots in the soft soil of the slope.  Where each burrow exits is a mound, the remains of deep-earth excavation.  One of the six burrow openings is larger than the others.  My reading tells me this complex of burrows and exits provides quick escape from predators, a place to store food, and a place to hibernate.

the main entrance to the burrows, under the roots of a fir

Once this place was the ideal location for our new picnic table and our family picnics.  Now the same site is perfect habitat for the Groundhog family.                                                    


concerning the location

of our new picnic table


share a meal with the unknown

to make it your friend


we find a clearing

near the path

where the sun will shine at noon

where we will not have to cut the trees

where the neighbours’ voices

and the passing cars

are quiet 


we load the picnic table

into the cart

haul it through the woods

behind the Yamaha


we eat peanut butter sandwiches

and applesauce

drink cola

and sunshine


we laugh

make friends with the woods

and with each other



© Jane Tims 1983

Written by jane tims

August 20, 2011 at 7:32 am

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