When writing, you can make a point quickly without piling up a lot of words. You like that. You wonder if this economy of time could somehow apply to visiting a nature trail.
Today you’d wanted to hit the woods for a few hours, a break from staying home in the era of COVID-19. But you’ve got work requiring an afternoon at the computer. Then you think: wait, sometimes you trim a rambling 500 down to 100, so maybe you could shorten a ramble in the woods, too.
You park at a nearby North Shore nature preserve. You walk for five minutes and stop. For another five, you stand in the quiet trees. You see a scarlet tanager through the leaves, a colorful surprise.
Five minutes later, you’re on your way out. Total time, 15 minutes. A short hike. You wouldn’t want all your hikes to be short ones. But on a busy day that would normally have no wildness in it, you went into the woods, got honest mud on your shoes and saw a tanager.
You’ll remember that for a long time. Even though it was for a short time.
This column was adapted by Mike Lubow from his book: Wild Notes: Observations over time about birds and other fleeting things. Available on amazon.com.