dear wood fairy ……

Someone who understood the symphony
of the woods, placed you there, next to
a dripping waterfall , where your every answer
to tear splattered rock, was a resounding silence.

Is it to the timbre of my distracted footfalls,
your silent woodwind plays to the yellowed Sassafras,
now blushing red, in leaves that could not quite
make up their mind what shape to be.

And against a majestic oak, one of many
other such highnesses in a veritable
royal consortium that this forest is,
a downy woodpecker adds percussion.

But it is the chamber orchestra in my heart
where it provokes a stringing rhythm
deep within, as petulantly expectant
as the choral of the restless thrush,

that hops beneath the juvenile Witch Hazel.
The lowly shrub got the chilly message of winter
quite late, so it blooms now and I wonder
if I could make a decoction, for an inflamed heart.

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We joined a couple of our friends on a long hike in the beautiful Ramapo Mountain Forest reserve where we spotted this figurine. The day was filled with laughter, enlightening conversations about hiking poles and we all even collaborated on a limerick that I should soon share. But the beauty of this forest is that it is home to a wide variety of flora (and birds too), some of which are the Sassafras and the Witch hazel, both important medicinal plants, reputedly used for centuries by the native American Indians.

The Sassafras is unique in that it has many shaped leaves on the same plant (three lobed, mitten shaped or no lobes) and it is one of the last plants to exhibit fall colours. It belongs to the Laurel family and emits a pleasant aroma if the twigs are scratched. Witch hazel is a small tree where flowers bloom after the leaves are shed in September through December.

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