So it was that we did explore with the boys up and down through woods for miles until arriving at an abandoned shelter with stone-block kitchen fireplace whereupon owing to the sogginess of the previous evening a struggle did ensue to keep a wimpy little fire going. The reader will rightly imagine dry kindling is difficult to come by in temperate rain forest this time of year but as the boys’ pockets tend to contain unlimited supplies of gum wrappers, dubiously-constructed origami, papier mâché booger bundles and other paper-based lint we crowded into the small space of that hearth to warm our hands, bits of resinous material scrounged from the shelter added to flame piecemeal for incense, and the rest of the afternoon sniffed longingly at the black fragrance under our fingernails. The boys made me promise I won’t forget the marshmallows, next time.

We lunched on sandwiches and cookies while enjoying the occasional hissing swash of invisible cobbles in the winter-swollen, pea-green river (off-limits to the boys this day except for those quieter back channels). Adam happened upon a drowsy, not-in-a-particular-hurry Rough-skinned newt in the upturned roots of a storm-damaged fir and admonished me not to touch it (the newt, not the tree) lest I desire the most Shakespearian death. He doth exaggerate a little, sometimes. Oliver Fern and I shuddered for between us there’s common sense enough to give Adam the hard time but we weren’t interested in testing the toxicity of that dainty amphibian.

We found this fascinatingly fulsome bracket fungi while climbing in the forest above the river. What a beauty and not really even the outlier in these parts!  It was a lovelier late autumn day than expected and I got so caught up in bejeweled spider webs, splashes of orange and mysteriously dark draws with slippery creeks that ultimately I would leave numerous photography opportunities on the proverbial on-the-way-back table and wouldn’t you know I got burned by afternoon drizzle on the return? When I was shooting with the Nikon Armored Tank I tended to operate everywhere from snowstorms to spattering cloudbursts nary a mildish concerned pause but I have but one lens for the itsy-bitsy Fuji and it came with this most insubstantial economical hood which qualifies as mostly un-useful except for trapping bugs for closer observation but at least there’s more time for taste-testing raindrops.

At any rate, we stayed alert for biggo falling limbs because you know around these parts November can be a dangerous time to walk in the forest. The floor in the woods was scattered with fresh debris like garland. The boys hopped, skipped and inhaled allotted caches of Halloween candy whilst staring up at the treetops. Novemberlanding at its finest! Later that evening amid the sonorous rumbling across Elliott Bay I marveled at the ferry just three quarters and a half emptyful, that’s a thing that also mighty tickles me about the black curtain. 

Postscript:  Now let’s see here, egg nog was just coming into season and another light bulb had exploded in the dining room. For the time being we were taking dinner and homework by candle, Kentucky log cabin style (calling to mind a young Abraham Lincoln). We would close those old fashioned pocket doors (not all the way because the panel on the left always slips off the track just before the doors meet) for eerie shadows and atmosphere (enhanced family talks).  It was cozy but the novelty wore off by December. This broadcast from back in November was never really in danger of being relegated to the dustbin for that walk in the forest is surely deserving of a place in the archive. Better late than never.


9 thoughts on “novemberlanding

  1. You make the most compelling argument yet for saving the lint and origami of dubious quality in my pockets, lest I find myself in an abandoned shelter and in need of kindling! My goodness, I do love your storytelling and the rich, vivid scenes you paint with words (by the end of this post I felt so clammy that I’ll probably come down with a cold). So glad you survived the potential of falling limbs in the forest — and I hope your Fuji survived the mist. As always, thank you for inviting me to tag along on your most magical adventures.

      • Ha ha! Well, if your writing left me cold it was only in the most wonderful way — not at all like going outside this past week. (And not to worry; our electric blanket did the trick, so no engine-block heaters were brought to bed, ha ha!)

  2. That was an enjoyable story TF. I miss having nephews and nieces young enough to drag around on adventures during their summer stays. Of course I’m getting of an age where it’s sometimes difficult to find the car at Safeway, so maybe it’s for the better! Have fun with those boys. They appear to be growing fast. Must be that Northwest climate.

    • You can be like me and leave three tattered, longish blue nylon cords tied like streamers to the top of the car (you’ll never lose it again) from the elementary school Christmas tree fundraiser in 2014 and eat more carrots and do junior crossword puzzles.

  3. Nice. I can just see the soggy forest trail, ferns and moss and trees (oh my), and youngsters cavorting about. Even without the picture of that massive elf patio.

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