After lunch we decide to take a photo walk through the conservation area next to our property. The walk there is a shadeless section of the old log road that runs by our cabin. It is a messy mix of sticky mud, hard red clay, large rocks, and huge gulleys where the rain has washed it away. The road is difficult to walk on; the gravel shifts and slides under our heavy muck boots. The sun beats down on us as we stumble along on the shifting rocks.

But soon enough we are in the beautiful shaded pine forest and the heat is broken by a quiet breeze that smells of musty pine. Now we walk upon a soft pine needle carpeted trail, surrounded on either side by towering old pines. Their tops sway softly in sync to the gentle wind. These woods are magical. Even the buggy weedy heat of summer cannot completely douse the magic of these woods. I love to come here.

We walk slowly, conserving energy, searching our surroundings for photography subject matter… the sun shining through yellowed leaves, trees reflecting in a lilly pad covered pond, a cute little orange spotted turtle crossing the trail. We are encompassed by so much life and beauty here.

We discover some chanterelle mushrooms beside the trail. Their smooth pastel orange bodies are irregular blobs of sherbert dabbled along the forest floor. We gently pull them out of the ground and wrap them in a handkerchief to carry home for dinner. Yum!

We grow tired. Our route is three miles long, not an insignificant distance to traverse in muck boots and heat. We start to slog; put our heads down and just cover the distance. I watch the backs of Craig’s boots in front of me, step, step, step. I match his stride. I have no need to look up at the trail ahead of us. I trust his sure steps to forge the best way around gulleys, and weeds, and mudholes. He is my spiderweb catcher, my hunter and trail forger, the woodland wife’s knight in shining armor.

And on we trudge back toward our cabin. The sunny section of the log road is now uphill. I am covered in sweat, beginning to feel delirious. We haven’t brought any water with us. It is too hot and we’ve hiked too far without water to be comfortable. We never learn.

But we are getting close to home now, close to rest and a cold glass of the good stuff. Craig spots a spray of elusive wild bergamot flowers next to the road. What a lucky find for two photographers. We stop to capture the dainty spikey purple petals. Our thirst and discomfort is temporarily forgotten. We are once again, as always, reminded of what a glorious wondrous world God has created for us.