|All photos November 13-15, 2015. Assiniboine Forest, Wpg, MB|
It was one of those good weekends: two visits to Assiniboine Forest in three days. One walk was with M and one was by myself, but both were sunny and warm (i.e. atypical November) walks.
It had been a while since since I'd been to the forest. These days, I'm either walking during the girl's lessons or during the course of a writing day. So: either inside or adjacent to my neighbourhood. I haven't noticed a "forest deficit," because I was exercizing more than normal and, also, the Wolseley/Wellington loop, my 'local,' is both varied—two neighbourhoods, two bridges, the river—and treed.
Changing my patterns around how and where I walk was logical: I was spending less time getting to and from the forest, which is a half-hour from my house, and so more time writing. What's more, I could have a satisfying walk under the trees in an hour instead of an entire afternoon.
What I forgot, of course, is that the forest gives more than a treed suburb could. More and varied trees in a density you just don't get on a boulevard or in someone's yard. Even the riverbank forests on view from the Maryland and Omand's Creek bridges don't compare.
Assiniboine Forest also has a diverse understory, with shrubs, plants, and mushrooms and wildlife that inhabits that understory. For instance, I saw a deer, a marten, and a northern goshawk on my Sunday solo walk. I was so excited when I finished my walk, spending 5 minutes identifying the marten and goshawk in my Tracking and Scat and Manitoba Birds books and then another 40 minutes writing about the experience.
I felt illuminated, somehow lit from within: the gold/orange glint of the marten's coat, how the white-tail deer bounded into the trees, the brown-streaked breast of the goshawk. I've seen a few deer and raptors on my circuits of the W/W loop, but mostly I see people, dogs, and cars.
And then there were the new mushrooms I found that I'm sharing here...
It was good to return to the forest, to refresh my ardour, and it was a great start to the Assiniboine Forest-focussed project that M and I are beginning.