Sometimes I imagine that it would be a life well spent to do nothing more than to observe the goings on at my little patch of forest at Roundtop all day long, season in and season out, year by year. I would like to find a spot where I can see all around me and just experience the life of the forest as it changes and repeats its rhythms in all its subtleties.
I’d like to know more about what goes on throughout the day (and night) than just my momentary glimpses, often when I’m actually doing something else. How often do birds travel through the trees in winter? How often do the rare or uncommon birds that I never get to see appear? Does the fox tiptoe behind my cabin every day or just as infrequently I see her? How often is the forest still and seemingly empty of activity?
In real life, I wouldn’t have the patience for such an undertaking, even if I did have the time and the means to do it. I’d get fidgety before the first hour was over. And yet there are so many unanswered questions, answers I’d love to know, answers that are at least theoretically possible to know.
And it’s not just the nuts and bolts of tracking the life of a forest that intrigues me. I’d like to better understand the complexities of a forest and its life rhythms. Compared to a forest, a human’s life is a short one, and better connecting with the more timeless nature of a forest would have its own value, I believe. Humans have much to learn from things that are more timeless than they are. Perhaps if I could examine my own timeless forest a bit more, I would divine more of her secrets.