Up in the woods with my new camera

Lately it has been so stiflingly hot all I feel like doing is hiding from the heat. Yesterday, however, I decided I’d be brave and go out into the baking sunshine. I just meant it to be a quick walk, to get my legs moving. But I wound up spending quite a bit of time up there, taking pictures with my new camera.

It was much more pleasant up in the woods than I thought it was going to be. I had forgotten that now that the trees are leafed out, it is actually shady in some parts of the woods.

I was struck by how overwhelminly summer-ish it felt up there. I have been going up in the woods pretty regularly, watching as spring progresses. It seems it’s only been a few days since I last went up there, and in that time the scenery has transformed from spring to summer.

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One of the most noticeable way that it looks like summer is that it’s very green up there now!

Originally, Owen, Caleb, and Deirdre all wanted to go up in the woods with me. But, in the end, only Caleb followed me up in the woods. All three of them seem to have radar for noticing when I’m going up in the woods, although especially Deirdre. Owen and Caleb always ask me, "Whacha doin’, Cadie?" whenever I start walking up the hill, even though 99% of the time I’m going up in the woods, so they shouldn’t have to ask. Then sometimes they want to tag along.

Deirdre, on the other hand, makes sure she knows when I’m going up in the woods. She always senses when there’s the slightest hint of "Going-somewhere" in the air about me. Then she immediately starts saying, "I want to go up in the woods with you too, Cadie! Are you going up in the woods?" and repeating this, to make sure she doesn’t get left out. She said this to me when I was pacing around the driveway once, cooling down after exercising, because it looked like I might be getting ready to go somewhere. She says it to me sometimes when I’m getting ready to go to Mrs. B’s, my neighbor’s, to do artwork. But most of the time, she’s correct–she spots my binoculars and is onto me.

This time, when Deirdre saw me, Mom satiated her by telling her she’d take her on a walk in the Secret Garden. I normally don’t mind taking Deirdre up in the woods–in fact I often like taking her and the little kids up in the woods. But I was grateful for Mom’s offer, because this time I didn’t want Deirdre to make me take longer.

When Owen heard that I was going up in the woods, he made a comic-character face of elation. He disappeared off somewhere, and soon was by my side again with all his going-up in the woods gear: a baseball cap and a pouch around his waist. "I’m bringing along my pouch, so I can pick things up and put them in!" he said.

We went the Secret Garden way, since it was shadier. I had brought along my new digital camera, just in case there were any good picture oppurtunities. I didn’t really expect there would be, since the hot sun would create glare. All my pictures, I felt, would be boring now that spring is past.

But as soon as I got into the secret garden, I noticed Mom and Deirdre walking together could make a good picture. In fact, there actually were picture oppurtunities all around me. Things that would just look like the same picture I’ve taken a million times before with the old camera could look different with this new camera. From looking at the little monitor screen on the camera, which displayed the pictures after I took them, I could already tell the pictures looked stunning compared to our old camera.

So I clicked away, while Owen very slowly walked along ahead of me. Caleb was tromping along ahead without any hesitation, but Owen was half-heartedly waiting for me. I caught up with him a little while later and confessed to him, "I’m taking too many pictures." (After all, the whole reason I didn’t want Deirdre to come was because she’d make it take too long!)

"Ah, I was wondering what was making you take so long!" he said.

Caleb kept saying, "Wow, look at these flowers!", because there were so many wild geraniums. There were some here and there on the steep uphill part of the Secret Garden, where it is bordered by trees on the left-hand side, and beyond that the ground slopes downward into a sort of "ravine" where water trickles down. But once we crossed over the wooden plank, after which the stream is on your right-hand side and crab-apple trees are at your left, the geraniums were quite plentiful. Their pale purple blossoms made the otherwise rather overgrown scene look a lot nicer.

There was an especially lot when we got to the place where bushes crowd up close to the path on either side. Caleb yelled to Owen (who was now behind us), "There’s lots of these flowers here, Owen!" Owen came up and exclaimed, as if he hadn’t believed him, "Wow! There is a lot here!"
"Yup, that’s what I told you, Owen!" Caleb agreed. Caleb sat still so I could try to take a picture of him, while Owen pretended to primp himself up with them.

Caleb was the only one who continued to follow me as we plodded along through the rest of the Secret Garden, and then into the woods. Owen had slipped away at some point. Owen generally has a short attention span, and even if he might be really excited about something at one point, if something else catches his interest the next minute he’ll be onto that. When we were farther down the path, he had said, "Oh look! You could make houses here! I think I’d like to make a house here!", pointing to the right-hand side of the path. That was more interesting now than following two slow-pokes up in the woods.

As we progressed furthur along, Caleb started saying things like, "I hope Owen didn’t get lost." That brought to my mind how, just recently when I had gone up to the top of the woods, Owen came up after me and he kept saying, "I hope Caleb’s not getting lost." The difference was that what Owen said was much more likely, although he said it in a much more light-hearted way then Caleb; he was confident that Caleb would be shouting for us if he was.

I felt slightly guilty taking all the pictures I was taking, because I wasn’t putting very much effort into it. To get something r
eally good, you have to try really hard at it. But I was basically just taking pictures willy-nilly. Once we got up to the stone wall, I felt like I had more inspiration. This is one of my favorite places up in the woods–a most familiar place, that I go up to almost every time I’m up in the woods.

Two different views of the stone wall. Still not the greatest pictures, but it was fun experimenting. The last picture is the tree you see looking to one side (south–well, southeast actually) from the stone wall. If you mentally place yourself as sitting on the stone wall in the picture, then looking up and left, you’d see that tree. It was fun to watch the trees around the stone wall slowly leaf out in spring. This particular tree was by far the latest–you might even be able to tell from the picture that its leaves are still pretty new.

There were so many different things I wanted to take a picture of up here, Caleb started getting impatient. To him, the only thing worth taking a picture of is him making a face into the camera. (I did take a picture of that, to make him happy!) He rotated between saying "Oh wow, look at that!" (every time he said that, it made me think Owen should’ve come up, because for every one of Caleb’s "wow"’s Owen would’ve said two "WOW"s!)

This is one of the ferns up at the stone wall.

This camera does very good close-ups!

Caleb did keep noticing things he thought was cool–like a crowsfoot plant, which is plentiful. But in the in-between times, when he was just sitting on the stone wall, engulfed in the wide woods all around, he started to feel a tad uncomfortable. For all he knew, we could be in Kansas. "Cadie," he asked me, "Are we lost? Are we even on our property?"

That question caught me off guard, considering to me we were right at home. "No–of course we’re not lost!! I know exactly where we are."

"Uh," he said, taking that in. "You do?"

(I think he said that…it drives me crazy, however silly it might be, when I write that someone said something they might actually not have!) "Yeah! We’re not off our property–well, actually, the stone wall is a little bit off our property, I guess. But we’re not lost." I think to him to the two naturally went together; if you’re off your property, then you must be lost.

Even when I did agree to go down to the house, finally, I kept halting every couple of steps when I "saw" another good picture. "I’m trying to go down to the house, and you keep distracting me!" Caleb said. That amused me…gee, it sounded like a line I use on him a lot (at least the second part!)

Somehow, I managed to lose the binoculars. Right after we set off down the hill I realized my hands were strangely empty. We continued down to where the paths split (I thought maybe I left them there) and then I left Caleb there and ran up to see if I left it at the stone wall.

I almost thought I saw it in the distance once, and instictively I reached for my binoculars to get a better look. Then I realized what I had done, and mentally laughed at myself. Oh yeah, DUH!! I’m looking for the binoculars! They were nowhere to be seen, so I quickly ran down to Caleb before he could get nervous.

When I got down to the house, and Owen heard about it, he said, "Someday I’ll see a bear walking around in the woods with binoculars!" I thought that was funny–imagine a bear peeking up over some bushes to peer at you with your binoculars!

I did find them easily after supper, though. (Phewsh! They’re basically my binoculars now, but they’re technically Teman’s.)