Winter Hike with David as a Forest Tour Guide

David is home for the weekend and we decided to take advantage of a break in the weather and get out in the woods. One of the new advantages of having David around is that we get a full scale description of all there is to know about trees, plants, and the interlocking systems of the forest...the advantages of having a forestery major in the family.

We have been experiencing some fairly cold weather for around these parts the last day or two, and are expecting the weather to get cold once more, so this was a nice little respite...especially given the not surprising reality that the weather forecasters had predicted today to be a complete washout with freezing rain and the dreaded "wintry mix."

David is a junior at the University of Missouri at Columbia, and is now at the point in his education where he is really learning the things he will use when he works in the field. His favorite class so far has been Forest Ecology, and was telling me that when he job shadowed a forester with the Missouri Department of Conservation, he literally did the same things he had been doing in the class. He says this is the class where he experienced the sensation he had truly chosen the right field for him.

Last semester, we realized he had not made it home for even one weekend, despite the fact Columbia is only an hour and a half up the road. It was looking a bit dicey as to whether the weekend was going to allow for travelling...we were glad it all worked out.

The land that surrounds our home is filled with relics of a history where many of the implements of the

former inhabitatants still reside in what is now forest. In some cases the machinery has literally become a part of the forest. If you ever think of your life as a part of much bigger and longer running picture, seeing these old farm tools becoming part of the forest really makes you think. I am sure when the farmer or farmers parked these machines for the last time, they either did not know it was the last time, or at the very least, they did not grasp how the scened would appear 75 to 100 years later. I wonder how the actions I take or do not take in my life might be viewed by someone 75 or 100 years from now?

Being in the outdoors with family seems to have a timeless quality. I am not a real philosopher or verywell educated in American Literature and the transcendentalist movement, but it seems like my thinking gravitates this way fairly constantly. For example, I wonder how many families have walked together through these woods, and found evidence of fairly recent ancesots as they did. Is it possible or likely that the connection we formed with the former inhabitants extends through them to the people who preceded them by 75-100 year... and so on? Just one of these connections takes us back to perhaps the Civil War or even further back. Given we are in the very area where Daniel Boone & family resided at the end of his days, could that connection exist? It would be difficult or impossible to know, bu the possibility is very real!

Laura and I have two sons who are in fields where they have real opportunities to make or preserve in ways that will have permanence. Our oldest son is a civil engineer; mostly doing road design. It was fun being in the woods with David, observing the way he interacts with his surroundings and having him share with us what he knows.

#hiking #family #forest #nature #outdoors

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