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  • Last night, I was looking for a box to mail a Christmas gift. I found a box of slide boxes (I likely won't be getting any more of those these days) and in the box was a small journal and on the first page of the journal was this note. I thought I'd share it.

    Been There

    Baltimore Woods, April 28, 1996; 12:13 PM

    As I am sitting at the gravel-bed overlook at Baltimore woods, and older man and two women walk up.
    The man says, “Oh, this is the overlook. You can see the village and everything from here.”

    You can’t. It’s the wrong overlook.

    He takes one quick glance, turns and walks away. “Been there, done that,” he says.
    As he disappears down the trail with his back to the overlook, a mourning cloak butterfly
    floats across the wide opening of the overlook. It seems to dance in the soft light.
    A crow sails from one side to the other.

    I am sure I miss a lot. When I leave, more will happen. Everywhere I’m not,
    things are happening and I am missing them. But I look and listen. I smell and touch.
    I taste. I never want to have a “been there, done that” attitude about the woods, or about life.

  • I dedicated this story to my daughter, Erin, for three reasons:

    1)I wrote it on her birthday.
    2)I wrote it at Baltimore Woods Nature Center, where she's getting married in January.
    3)I intend to offer her the notebook I wrote it, which is mostly full of blank pages. (She may or may not want it.)


    1)gifts: the gift of attention, of living in the present, is probably the greatest gift of all--being truly alive.
    2)Outsiders: Being outside and experiencing nature is also a gift. That is a second take on the meaning of the word.


    Painting (a quick sketch) of a mourning cloak butterfly, by me, this morning (12-15-12). The photos I used as references came from Baltimore Woods.


    Tonight we are going to a party of twelves, to celebrate 12-12-12; 12:12. It will be a twelve course meal. Maybe I already mentioned it. If so, I apologize.
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