I walk these woods. Those woods. New woods and old woods. Your woods and my woods. I walk them all. I walk them in the rain. My mood on pause. I wish for little but search and search and search. Is it this journey that I find so appealing? Would a walk be a good walk if only for the walk itself? I cannot believe in that futility. Walking is only accomplishment if it takes you from someplace and to another, as if a wanderer lost who after a lifetime of walking has finally found something. I don’t know if I’ll find that something today, but I’ll walk anyway.
From above, or from a distance of any variety, there is no rhythm to my walk. It makes little sense. Has something been lost that absolutely must be found? Is this search one of life or death, or is it a search of whim, meaning nothing outside of the time spent? The walk this week was in the rain. My boots were muddied, and these were new boots. New boots wouldn’t normally be brought along in the rain and the mud, but the walk matters to the boots just as it matters to me. Boots left clean in closets aren’t really boots at all. These new boots carried me, or I carried them, through the brambles and through the mud and around those trees and on that walk. The rain soaked my shoulders and soaked my head and soaked my new boots. After some walking, they were new no longer.
I never know what to wear on this walk. I wear a shroud of mystery if you consider the viewpoint of passing strangers. What would he be doing in there? Why would he find that walk to be so necessary, and why now? Why in this rain and with those boots and under those Lilacs that have just now, in this cloudy damp, bloomed? I wonder, too, why I must do this, when the walk is often fruitless, the thoughts narrow and the mud deep. The boots dirtied and worn and wet. I opt for jeans, a shirt, a jacket, something dull in color like the sky and the ground and everything except those blooms on the Lilacs that are early.
The Lilacs tell us the bass will be in soon. They tell us the bite will be on, though the warden tells us the fish cannot be targeted and they shouldn’t be caught. Catch and release doesn’t matter when it’s a no catch season. Once you’re not allowed to catch, the release is a given, and the latter doesn’t disallow the prior. The Lilacs bloom and the bass bite and I walk these woods. It’s this week, it was last week, it will be next week. I’ll walk this walk alone in the rain, and with my son in the rain. He’s come so far, so fast. He’s become what I wished he would become. He walks the woods, his younger mind sharper, his eyes focused, fresh. Mine are weary and aged, duller than I’d like them to be.
But walk we must. Because we have morels to find. We have ramps to dig. My son has orders to fill. It’s morel season in Wisconsin, and we’ll keep walking until we find them.