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  • I go days at a time without appreciating my life, weeks. It may even be that my default mode of appreciation is so low, so grayed with entitlement I resent it more often than I am humbled by the intricate overlay of an acorn cap, the yellow sash in a Flicker feather.

    For this reason, I am especially grateful for the constants that call my attention to change. If I am different every morning and afternoon, as mutable as cloud cover, at least I might return biweekly to the same wooded acreage the state maintains for me.

    It never occurred to me to take a photograph of Dunbar Cave State Park during the winter, but it was the naked season that showed me the layout of the land. After the autumn leaves that had drawn families and teenage couples and photographers dropped, the park looked smaller, shrunken as a shaved collie. Bared, I could make out the path between the trees and hills, the bright flags of oncoming walkers╩╝ jackets.

    The Recovery Trail is so used, they mulch it with cedar bark to keep it from becoming a mud slide after rain. Though I have lived here five years and walked this trail hundreds of times, it was only this spring I paid attention to the different faces it wears from day-to-day. I watched the wealth of green fade so that the fungus marking the trunks stood out. I could see through the stark branches a red crown of an early woodpecker coming to drill the tulip poplars for grub, the lush undergrowth teeming green as the original money, which did grow on trees. It purchases privacy; all those layers combine to slice off a plane of solitude every 1/100th acre, because when I walk through it, no matter how many people I pass, there always comes a time in my walk when it is only the woods and me.
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