Ever since he was a little boy, my grandson has had a fascination with sticks. It has eased a bit, as he has grown older, but when on a walk, it never fails, he still comes back with one! When he was 2 and 3 years old, we would kiddingly call him “stick boy”!
He would gather up armfuls when walking outside and make little piles of his treasures outside the garage door (or on the kitchen counter!). Fallen branches just needed to be gathered. A stick could become a sword in an imaginary battle. Sticks kept the dinosaurs at bay while walking through the woods.
The right forked branch could make a perfect slingshot. A sturdy stick was great for drawing in the gravel or the dirt. A bunch of them lined up made great fencing for the imaginary creature that needed to be captured.
I see where he gets stick love from! When I was a kid, I had a similar fascination with both sticks and rocks. Truth be told, I probably still do! We like to go for walks and find fossil rocks, or rocks with cool shapes.
There is something about going for a walk in the woods, the serenity of being surrounded by trees, listening to the rustle of their leaves, as the wind moves through them, allowing the trees to talk to each other.
As I understand it, the Native Americans called trees standing people. It makes perfect sense. They are alive.
I am not a tree hugger, but I have been known to hug a tree on rare occasions!
The different bark textures and leaf shapes are endlessly fascinating. I remember class projects in elementary school, doing leaf rubbings on construction paper with crayons, pressing colorful fall leaves between sheets of wax paper.
A favorite fall activity has always been, for all kids, jumping in a huge pile of raked leaves, and disappearing into its crunchy depths. Don’t we wish sometimes, that we could go back to those childhood pursuits?
When I walk, either alone or with my grandson, I am always looking for the next best fallen branch, or cool rock. I use branches in my art- to hang a weaving from, or to create a staff for a little woolie mouse. A huge downed branch has the potential future as a sturdy walking stick.
And, yes, arms full of dried sticks can be the perfect kindling to start that campfire or throw in the woodstove.
So, while you are out walking, take the time to admire that tree- the artistry of its branches as they reach to the sky. Look down, to see if it has tossed you any of its withered limbs, and pick one up. Let your imagination take you back to your childhood- no one is looking! Stick in hand, know that you can brandish your imaginary weapon against any foes real and imagined, or conduct a symphony only you can hear created by the whispering leaves. Enjoy your walk, there are many sticks to be had!
All is well this December, at Mountain Meadows, as the year comes to a close. We hope everyone enjoys their holidays, and is healthy and happy. As always, thank you for reading and supporting our little paper. We appreciate each and every one of you! See you next year!