Secrets of the Woods

The family of deer that Miles and I saw on our first visit made many appearances throughout the year. I recall the excitement I felt every time I spotted them crossing within eyesight. Growing up in the city, it was a new experience for me to observe deer in their home which was also my new home. A few months into school, I was reading the last book of the Lord of the Rings series in a chair I found in the woods. Being completely silent, I heard the family of deer crack a few branches and rustle a few leaves as they moved. Between the trees, I could spot their thin light brown smooth bodies gracefully creep by. I made no noise. I didn’t want to startled them. I wanted them to trust me. After they passed out of sight, I returned to my book. Aragorn (aka Strider) was tracking the Orcs who kidnapped Pippin and Merry. He could read the ground and identify how who had passed through the land, how long ago and how fast. Once I had concluded my reading, inspired by his tracking skills, I decided to follow the route the deer had followed. I had seen which direction they had taken so it wasn’t really a surprise that I found their foot prints in the mud but I was thrilled none the less. I felt like Aragorn following their footprints off the human trail. The footprints are easy to identify in the mud because the two points on the deer’s hoofs stick into the dirt making a sharp inverted point. Following them taking pictures, I also found a blunt wrapper. I took a picture of that too, “Tracks of human presence in this area too!” Excited by the smallest of markings, I was over was over the moon when I emerged from the thicket out onto a human trail I hadn’t known was there.  

      Turning to my left on the trail, I was overwhelmingly excited to spot a wooden bench made from tree cuts sitting there in silence. As I drew closer, there was so much more there than I had anticipated. The bench had been nailed together around one side of an old small firepit. I found a metal candle holder with two large curving metal arms on each side reaching for the sky like it was something sacred. Behind the firepit, lies an old tent that had been many times washed over by the collection of rain. I tired pulling it out but it was so full of dirt I wouldn’t move from its planted location. I learned later that this upper classman boy I knew had camped out there his freshmen year. I don’t know why he would leave his tent but it was evident to me that students of all generations had explored their way through these woods. I had found the chair I was reading in also by chance of casual exploration. I was galloping through the disc golf meadows when I spotted the subtlest of paths diverting into the woods from the largest meadow in the course. Following this subtle narrow path, I spotted something shiny in the distance. It turned out to be silverware strung on a wire linked between trees. There I found the chair, another old firepit, old worn-down beer cans and what I guessed to be a really old grass cutter. I went back to that location many times finding old objects scattered all over the place. After venturing around for some time, I put together that the households that border this part of the woods used it as a place to dumped their junk. As a person who loves repurposing junk, I relocated many objects I found in the woods. I used a large metal sheet I found to form a roof between a live tree and a dead one, a shelter from the rain or snow. I moved an old broken shelf that I found near this firepit and shelter where I placed all the old beer cans because if this junk is going to sit here, might’ve as well make it an exciting space to happen upon if someone ventures far enough in the right direction. After I happened upon these locations in the far-left side of the Guilford Woods, I had a drive in me to uncover every secret these woods held.  

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