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One Cobble at a Time

Woodthrush Woods

Sandra Tayler's Journal

responsible woman

A cobble by itself is just a small stone, but when many of them lay together they create a path . My life is made up of many discrete parts. I have to find ways to fit them all into place so that I can continue to journey where I desire to go. This journal records some of the cobbles that create my path.

Woodthrush Woods

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responsible woman

Mary Robinette’s parent’s house has a name: Woodthrush Woods. I love the idea of naming a house. It gives the place an identity separate from a container inside which people live. It is obvious that this particular house has been beloved for multiple generations. People care for their houses differently when they expect their grandchildren to live in it. It makes me want to be more conscious of the choices I make for my own home, even though it is extremely unlikely that my children or grandchildren will settle there. When my house passes out of my hands, I want it to feel like a place where people were happy. Because that is true. I’d just like that happiness to manifest in more careful repairs and fewer broken drawers and dinged plaster.

Around Woodthrush Woods is a forest, which I presume is how the name came to be. I arrived in the dark last night and I knew that one of my first tasks this morning would be to go wandering in the woods. I wanted to get a feel for this place where I’ve landed. I wanted to see what the trees and birds had to say to me.

For the most part they were unconsciously beautiful, not really having much to tell. These trees have stood here a long time. The birds are more ephemeral, but they have still been here longer than I have. I was very interested in the birds since I’ve lived my whole life in the west and many of these are exclusively eastern birds. I immediately regretted leaving my bird field guides at home. I was trying to save luggage space and weight. I looked up the birds on the internet, but there is a satisfaction to flipping through pages and finding the winged creature who just flew by. The woodthrushes were the first I saw. Then I was delighted by an eastern blue jay. Eastern jays, cardinals, and eastern bluebirds are the iconic backyard birds, along with american robins. I’d only ever seen robins. When I came back east one of my big hopes was to see a cardinal.

I wandered through the trees until I chanced on a trail. It led me to a creek.

I knew there was a creek somewhere nearby and I was pleased to find it. I even hopped my way out onto some rocks, nearly dunking a foot so that I could photograph what would have been an ideal spot for pretend games or a fort.

My children would love these woods.

As usual I was fascinated by some of the tiny details of the forest.

There is a bush which has these berries. I’m fairly certain they are not good for human consumption, but the song birds do seem to like them. Walnuts cracked under my feet from the wild trees. It explained why blue jays like it here. Also under my feet was moss. We don’t get moss in Utah, not enough water in the air. This tiny growth feels magical to me and has me considering placing the house for my magical realism book in an eastern forest instead of a western one.

More thought is required, because I’m far more familiar with the feel of a western forest. Except this one feels more alive and magical to me. I wonder if it is or if unfamiliarity just makes it seem so.

I wandered my way back to the house and saw a flash of red in a tree next to the lawn. A cardinal had stopped by, like a wish of good luck for my week-long visit. I hope I see him again before I leave, but once is enough. I love being able to look up from my computer and see birds swooping from tree to tree. This is a lovely place.

Comments are open on the original post at onecobble.com.



  • Very nice pics and thoughts... reminded me of the Hundred Acre Wood; The Copper Beaches; Hill House; Green Gables; Rose Cottage... :o)
  • That is truly lovely, and I'm thrilled you are enjoying your stay. Being able to see those types of scenes from my bedroom window is one reason we put up with the long commute into Atlanta for work.

    The woods may seem more "alive" in part because of the timing. This is the peak of the fall migration, when birds are moving through in huge numbers. They'll fly at night and then spend the days partly resting, partly frantically looking around for food to fuel the next leg of migration. We just had the first cold front of the year move through the day before you arrived, and that often acts as a little kick in the butt to get birds moving south.

    Our woods have been flooded with birds. It's a huge challenge trying to identify a zillion little brownish-grey things. Warblers have mostly moulted out of their gorgeous distinctive breeding plumages by the time they make it to Georgia. Couple that with the sightings being from underneath, through canopy and dappled-by-canopy lighting, and it's a recipe for frustration. Easier to simply sit back and enjoy :)

    Speaking of enjoying, I hope they have hummingbird feeders out. It's prime time for them, too.

    I'm looking forward to reading more about this, and seeing its influence on your writing later. *hugs*

    • The migration season may be a contributing factor, but you also just have lots more birds here. The humidity gives you more bugs, thus more birds. Also the desert forest birds tend to be less colorful.
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