This is another example of a similarity between Louie’s childhood and mine. In this letter he describes the woods across the creek from his house and how he’d wander about, looking and listening. His stomping grounds weren’t more than a couple hundred yards from the woods where Nathan and I built a “fort” and went sledding in the winter. We spent a lot of time in those woods, exploring, playing, and listening to life.
The last time I was in Jamestown, North Dakota I had some time to see the places I would just sit and listen and look while I was just a little fella.
I would go over into the woods across the creek from my home, sit down and admire the trees. Funny how you could walk past them and never notice that each one grows differently – branches take off in different directions as if they were looking for a path to see the world in a different way.
The birds that sat in the trees, nested in them or just sat there singing to the world, letting us know they were there and listen to the beautiful music they made.
The squirrels that made the trees their domain and would scold anyone who dared to invade their territory.
The cottontails dashing amongst the trees, looking for some juicy plant to sink there teeth into. Some would almost come up to you while you were sitting there, eye you curiously and wait until you made a slight move, then show you there pretty white tail as they dashed off.
In the woods there was no silence, just sit and listen. Birds sang, animals dashed through the underbrush scattering dry leafs. The wind would sing its song through the leaves of those beautiful trees. There were more sounds but a little fella like I was didn’t pinpoint them, just seemed to relax and enjoy.
Once in a while, at the right time you could smell the fresh smell of new mowed hay. Newly mowed alfalfa smells so clean and sweet. To this day, if I catch that smell while driving, I have to stop, take it all in and dream.
In the early spring, while there was still some snow on the ground, the crocus flowers would sneak through and brighten your day. Wild violets spread there beauty all over the forest floor.
If you have the honor to visit a nice quiet forest, just sit and listen to that loud silence that can tell you so much. I relive those days often.