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Just Outside My Door 10/25/12

October 31, 2012
By ELAINE G. COLE - COLUMNIST ( , Westfield Republican / Mayville Sentinel News

The sun is shining brightly from the clear blue sky this lovely October morning after a rainy windy night. Although frost covered the ground in some areas, the 40 degrees of daybreak have already begun to rise, and it will probably eventually top 60 degrees by afternoon as it has several days recently.

One of those days as I was cleaning some cupboards and had all the utensils and groceries from them on the counters and floor. Suddenly I felted compelled to desert that task and go for a walk. It was too nice of a day to spend it inside for there was no guarantee there'd be another such day. As often occurs this time of year, I decided I must go down the hill behind our house to the creek below. Knowing Penny would also enjoy being outside, I called her and we headed just outside my door.

We found a couple places in the path that had some water, but it was mostly dry and not even very wet in the swampy area. It was fairly breezy when we started, but in the valley it was quite tranquil. However, I could see the tops of the locust trees were still swaying in the wind. Although the creek had more water in it than it had previously, it wasn't yet filled. It traveled slowly along with just a soft voice except in places where it got deeper. Then it began to travel faster, gurgling as it hurried along to join French Creek.

There's something very special about sitting on the rock in the creek bed that has no doubt been in the same place way back when the Native Americans camped along the creek as they traveled back and fourth even before the white man arrived in the new land many years ago. Perhaps some of the locust trees are the same ones that grew there then, or maybe those today are new ones. I'm sure the creek is still the same though it may have been bigger and probably it was more overgrown.

I love the quietude in our valley. It's almost as if I were all alone in the lumber-lost woods that Gene Stratton-Porter wrote about in the early 1900s. She, however, told about the twittering and songs of the birds she studied and the animals she saw. She also experienced the voice of the wind as it traveled through the tall, tall trees and the excitement she felt when the seasons changed. The things she learned in that yesteryear were combined in her books of fiction weaved through the story line in each one. She also wrote some nature one and children's.

I was in junior high when my sister, who was then in nurses training at Alfred College, gave me Porter's book "Freckles" for my birthday. From that day on I was hooked on that author's books. I got or borrowed a few of them from relatives, and over the years sine I've purchased others, but there are about eight others I don't have. Occasionally I read them over again and think about how happy I was on the day when I received Porter's first book.

Although I never lived in the limber lost forest, I've always been blest to learn near a woodland where I could wander in it whenever I wanted to and enjoy God's beautiful creation there. I would also greatly like to visit that forest and swamp which is comprised of 13,000 acres in Adams County and northern Jay County in Indiana. There is a museum featuring it there too.



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