Thursday, April 22, 2010

Playing in the Woods


Holding my Swiss army knife in my right hand and pulling down with my left, I sliced through the topside of the bending maple branch. Making little headway, my arms tired and I let go, dropping six inches to the ground. "I can't believe mom dulled my knife, she never does that to yours," I yelled in frustration to my younger brother, Tim, stacking seven-foot tree sections in a tepee formation some fifty feet away. Tim had no scars on his hands, mine looked like a pair of RRL jeans.

"Let me see yours," I said motioning to the small red knife in his hand. Thumbing the blade open, I avoided the bandaids on my index finger and rubbed the blade. "Yah, yours is much sharper. I am almost nine and mom wont let me have a sharp knife," I chirped like a senior complaining to the coach when a sophomore gets the start at homecoming. Tim said nothing and kept pulling the bark off a freshly cut sapling.

Walking back to the tree, I jumped up and hung on like Stallone on the cover of Cliffhanger. With a downward yank of the pocket knife, the small branch cracked under my weight and I fell to the ground with an accomplished grin on my face. Holding the knife in one hand and the branch in the other, I jumped up and dragged my prize back towards our recently conceived tepee.

Popham, Maine.

Without the luxury of abundant neighbor kids and the infrastructure afforded by suburban playgrounds, my brother and I wandered aimlessly through the hundred acre woods that surrounded our house. Shooting slingshots, dirtying clothes, playing like cowboys and Indians, and making forts and dams, we passed our time in the forest.

Small Point, Maine.

A decade and half later, I still venture into the woods when restless and frustrated. Trading in my LA Lights for Danner Hiking boots and Vibram Fivefinger running shoes, I explore the woods at 22 with the same youthful exuberance I did at 8-1/2.

North Belgrade, Maine

Western Maine.

Kennebec Highlands, Maine.

Prindle Mountain, Washington.

Other than maybe a Bruce Springsteen Concert, few places could could jointly host Choco-wearing Trustafarians from New England and Cabela's-outfitted deer hunters from the rural Midwest like the woods do. Regardless of their political standpoints on the duration of the waiting period to own an assault rifle or eagerness to pack their bowel movements out in plastic bags, they are drawn to the woods in a similar way. The woods are special.

Here are some more links,
Trees (Picasa),
The Woods (ART).

12 comments:

Skip said...

Great post! I'm going to miss these gems.

Foster Huntington said...

thanks skip. i really appreciate your loyal readership,
foster

Angelo said...

Love it. I try to play in the woods as an adult as often as possible. I need to get back into fort-building though.

Foster Huntington said...

Angelo,
playing in the woods keeps you honest and grounded. the fort building is an added bonus,
foster

Memphis88 said...

Definitely had me some LA Lights. Those, along with Reebok Pumps and every incarnation of Penny Hardaway's shoes made up my entire childhood shoe collection.

Foster Huntington said...

Memphis,
i liked what LA lights were selling. what a cool idea for shoes. anyway, nikes or vans couldnt hold a candle to them. If i was familiar with the pumps i would have gone with them but i was a little to much of a country boy,
foster

NSW said...

on earth day no less. excellent post brother.

Foster Huntington said...

Weinstien,
great point about earth day, its a complete coincidence haha,

d said...

it's been fun living vicariously in maine thru you.Please continue to take us along with you, as you become a garmento in New York !

Foster Huntington said...

D,
i will do my best but i dont think i will have time to update with any real regularity. i am going to be giving my new job all my efforts. it will be tough. thanks for the support,
foster

sinnlighet said...

Your blog ..... it's amazing and soooo inspiring. Nice to find you!

A small footprint from Agneta & Sweden

Foster Huntington said...

sinnlighten,
how did you find my blog? you have an amazing eye. what do you shoot with? thanks for the kind words,
foster