Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Back to the forest

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

I didn’t plan on walking today, it just happened. Before I knew what was happening, I was out the door with my camera in hand, my feet carrying me along seemingly of their own volition. As I penetrated the forest, the wild rose bushes that have overgrown the path reached out to snatch at my clothing with their thorny fingers.  ~ pluck, pluck ~ little girl ... who do you think you are to enter our forest, eh? ~  I ignored them and pushed forward, their thorns leaving tiny pinprick holes in my sweatshirt from their greediness.

The forest is subtly changing. Although most of the leaves are still green, the ground is carpeted with yellow and brown already. As I walk along leaves sift downward on the freshening breeze, making a gentle shushing sound. It’s comforting and restful. The breeze also loosens acorns from high above which come rattling down as they bounce off branches, and my head narrowly escapes a good clonking. Squirrels scurry back and forth amid the thickening blanket of spent leaves, probably collecting those very same acorns. Ah, the cycles of life.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

These newly “born” shelf mushrooms look like seashells to me. Such intricacy of coloration.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

How did this leaf manage to impale itself on this ragged, upturned tree trunk?

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

Further down the path I started to notice the vines. Funny what you can see when the thick vegetation of summer is gone. They seemed to be claiming the trees for themselves; making them their own possessions.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

I wondered if I stood there long enough, would I be assimilated too?  ~ resistance is futile ... ~  They seemed sinister to me; not sure why.

I walked a bit further, not certain of how far to go. A squirrel came down a tree right in front me, chattering noisily—almost like he was admonishing me to go back. So, heeding his advice, I headed for home, taking my strange mood with me.

I found these grape-like clusters growing close to home. I had never noticed them before. The more I looked, the more I saw! I picked one and broke it open with my fingernail. It smelled very sweet, sugary, grapey, and delicious, but I don’t know if they are edible or not. If they are, why haven’t the birds gotten to them? Does anyone know what they are? New Jersey vegetation still mystifies me!

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

Until the next time, dear forest. I never know what you have in store for me.


ok, I’ll be the first to comment on my own entry, lol. Well, I picked a small bunch of the “grapes” and brought them home. The first thing Rick did was to eat one, so then of course I had to eat one too—just in case they were not edible. I didn’t want him to be alone in his misery. They were SCRUMPTIOUS. Sure hope they were edible. I’ll let you know tomorrow ... if I’m still here ....

They are indeed grapes I can tell from the leaves. Was the land once farmed?
A few years ago, my parents lived on a 20-acre piece of land in a 200+ year old cape house.
Some of the land had been farmed many, many years previously. There were apple, quince, cherry, hawthorn, and plum trees. Tons of different types of berries.
I found grapes growing in one part of the woods; the vines were growing along the ground and up the trees. One huge pine tree appeared as someone had hung huge clusters of purple grapes along the branches.  They were not the best grapes for eating, though made great wine and lovely jelly.
The birds did not eat the grapes, though porcupines loved them. 
I wonder about the vines you photographed could they be grape as well.

Oh yeah, that forest would love to pull you down underneath the layer of matted leaves on its floor, oh yeah.

When in the forest, KEEP MOVING. The forest elementals on this coast are very powerful and none too fond of us humans, at least that’s always my experience in Rock Creek Park!

GREAT pics! Love the vines (hope that isn’t poison ivy vine…) The pics with the vines look like Andy Goldsworthy works.

Very cool!

Now I’m curious if those sinister looking vines could be grape vines as well? We live in wine country, but all of the grape orchards are highly cultivated and grow in nice neat rows. 

I have to laugh at you eating grapes so that you wouldn’t be the sole surviver if you had killed Rick off.  That’s my kind of logic as well. smile

Hey Lynne, long time no type.
Those are indeed grapevines and they grow wild all through NJ’s woods.
We have them in our yard and are constantly fighting to keep them off the trees least they choke them to death.  The vines make a great trellis or arbor for your garden.


I hate it when I make errors and can’t go back to fix them. Sigh…

Thanks for all the postive responses to them really being grapes. Next year I’ll watch sooner for them. They are tasty but have a lot of seeds!

Reya: I’ve noticed the difference in the forests here. Strange!

Paula and Susan: No, the big vines in the forest are certainly not grape. I call them “Tarzan” vines because you could use them to swing from tree to tree they are so sturdy. I don’t know what they are but they are creepy!

I love going walking with you!
P.S. Wait for the email

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