In one of the places where we walk we are always finding treasures and surprises. We discover them at nearly every turn. At the edge of the forest, indigo buntings fly from one stand of trees to the other then back again, their wings a flash of bright ink against the sky, which shimmers nearly white in the midday sun. Just beyond them we spot a common flicker silhouetted on a bare branch; it holds itself nearly still for several minutes while the buntings flit about in the dappled shade. Deeper in the woods ferns unfurl against the moss like lace fans, and mushrooms stained raspberry pink at their edges grow with abandon. Near the stream a rambling bush of blackberries just beginning to ripen bends low over the water, each of its berries sparkling in the dim light.
At times like this, I won't lie, I am in a fairy tale. It's not much of a leap: just follow the path, cross the winding stream, turn right at the ring of toadstools, and there you are in your secret world--a world where old enameled coffee pots and cracked crockery jugs grow from fallen trees and apothecary jars sprout from the soil, each one offering up another chance at dreams. In this world there are berries to eat and an old chipped mug for catching water from the stream. The deeper you go, the cooler the air, the softer your step, and the more there is to see. This forest holds a promise that you must find before you ever want to leave.