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.