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Mischief in the Woods

If you have the time and inclination to frequent wooded areas, there’s no telling what you might find. Oh, depending upon the season, you may discover wildflowers, heart-shaped rocks, beautiful vistas of trees and bluffs, happy little creeks, rock cairns, winding paths, maybe a fox or two if you’re lucky, deer or great blue heron, any and all of these wonderful things. You might find the remains of a stone chimney where a farmhouse once stood, the shell of a turtle, the skull of a raccoon. You will likely run into hikers, dogs, and sometimes, horses. These are all to be expected and delightful to come upon.

But then. Occasionally you’ll find something that delights or surprises in a very different way. One winter someone was making grapevine wreaths and leaving them all over the woods at Grindstone, making all of us regulars smile. Who was it? Tiny snowmen appeared after a big snowfall. Happy messages scratched into the dirt, hearts painted on the old silo.

Once I chanced upon a swing hanging from a very great height off of a fallen tree over a deep crevasse at Gans Creek. This had to have been through the efforts of more than one person, and at least one daredevil crawled or walked?? out on that tree to attach it. Yikes! You can’t tell from the photo, but that swing was hanging from a VERY high place! It was even difficult to get onto for swinging and it did not stay for very long. I imagine a park ranger found it too dangerous, but it was super fun to find there and I was sorry to see it go away.

This is for all to enjoy. Please be safe. Please be respectful.

Then there was this head-scratcher. Atop a very high hill, way at the back of the woods, one winter I came upon a full size grocery shopping cart. In it were a basketball, several cans of Keystone Ice, a pair of Birkenstocks, and a couple of hand warmers. Hmm. A prank on the owner of the Birkenstocks? This, too, took some doing. Here’s where I am tempted to simply write SMH (shaking my head). Though it was not a particularly welcome sight, it was memorable.

I suppose we could all use a little mischief now and then. What innocent mischief might we create? Oh, I don’t mean a thing that irritates or makes a mess, but something to bring a smile to a stranger. I have one thing that’s been percolating in my brain. The possibilities are endless.

“Every last one of us has a spark of mischief in our eyes, and that spark of mischief is what connects us all. . . But we’re Carefree Scamps, all of us. And we make people laugh. These are the people whose friendships I value.”― Karl Wiggins, Wrong Planet

“If you are not smiling, mischievous, satirical for some time every day, you are not living.” ― Sandeep Sahajpal, The Twelfth Preamble

“I solemnly swear that I am up to no good.”― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

If you’re looking for my cards or art, you’ll find all of that on my website. And if you enjoy these letters, feel free to forward this one to anyone you think might like it. And if someone forwarded this one to you, you can sign up here to receive the letters right in your Inbox. Finally, you’ll find past letters and poems here.

Thanks for listening,

P.S. MerryThoughts is the name of my first book, out of print at the moment. The word is a British one, referring both to a wishbone and to the ritual of breaking the wishbone with the intention of either having a wish granted or being the one who marries first, thus the “merry thoughts.”

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