It's dark out there. I went to bed at 9:00, got up at midnight, went to bed again at 1:00, and here I am about 2:30 back up again. It's clearly going to be one of those nights.
Here's a strange thing. Outside right now, there are no cicadas singing. No animal or insect noises at all. That's normal for winter, but for August? There should be a perfect cacophony of noise coming from the forest. All of the barn cats are on the porch, that's unusual too. The dogs are subdued as well. Maybe there's a thunderstorm coming.
The once welcoming forest is no more when night comes
The forest casts away her friendliness
And instead clothes herself in darkness and fear
A night forest is a dark and forbidding place
Our eyes unable to see through the thick veil of dark
Only feeling the movements happening just outside our field of vision
The chirping of the birds ominous
The rustling of wind malicious
The snapping of the twigs startling
Even the smallest of noises scare us
The once familiar trail is no more
The once familiar trees are all lost
Whoever enters the night forest will have to endure
The grim atmosphere that she poses
Beware of the night forest and her thick veils of darkness
It will not be the forest that welcomed you earlier
Today I walked down the mountain to the mail box. I took some pictures along the way, so I could show people how thick the forest is along the trail. Once you leave the meadow, the trees lock branches over the trail down the mountain, and you're walking through a green tunnel. I did get some pictures, but it was so dark in there the flash came on every time I took one. Some of the pictures didn't come out well as a consequence. There was not a breath of air in those woods, and the humidity was very high. When people say they could "cut the air with a knife" that's the kind of environment they are talking about.
Although the sun was shining, no direct sunlight was reaching the forest floor here. There's a kind of perpetual gloom under the forest canopy along the trail in the spring and summer, when the trees are all leafed out.
There's a bit of an opening in the canopy at this particular place on the way down the mountain. It's pretty steep here, if you try to get off the trail and walk up. I used to do that, years ago. I'd just head up the mountain at different spots to see what I could find. It's in the "too hard" category now.
This was taken at one of those dark, gloomy spots that the original settlers tried to avoid. There are places in the mountains where there's an uncomfortable aura . I can't explain it logically, but there's a reason that the Appalachian mountains have place names like "Booger Hollow", "Haint's Bend", "Old Nick's look out" and the like. Over the years I've seen some strange things in the forest.
There's a good , common place reason for avoiding the darker parts of the woods and that's the bears. At this time of year, bears are numerous as they search for berry bushes and acorns. Walking up on one is a bad idea. Without the dogs, I doubt I'd walk down the mountain at all during this part of the year.
This is the foot of the mountain, the gate is just a few hundred feet on down. It starts to open up and be less confined here. The trees aren't so close, there is some breeze. The humidity is still bad because there's a creek just to the left of the picture which acts as a natural humidifier. I've often though I should copy the sign on the haunted forest in the Wizard of Oz, which said "I'd turn back if I were you."
This is the county road. In summer it isn't too bad. In winter, it becomes one big mud slick. The gravel just sinks into the mud and it never dries out. Then, when it freezes, the road is covered with sheet ice. In winter the direct sunlight never reaches here, it's blocked by the mountains, so once the ice covers it over, it stays that way unless we have a couple of days of 40 degrees or above weather.
On the way back, you go along the trail back up the mountain. It's steep and a tough hike. Finally you get to this point, and there's the sunlight ahead, and the meadow. It's always good to get back.