Morning on Assateague Island
The following is an edited excerpt from Wood's Journal, written by Martin James Wood. To read the original and full version, click here.
Wednesday, June 22, 2016
Sky: Blue, with a very thin layer of stratocumulus clouds
Air: Still, warm and humid
Precipitation: None, but it rained night before
Ground: Dry, with some puddling
Temperature: 79 degrees
Time out: Mid-morning
Temperatures are moderate and pleasant. Bursts of storms with hard rainfall are short and intermittent.
With all of the harsh news of the world, there isn’t a place to find peace… Peace of mind. But step away, and look into nature. Look deep into it...
I head out to Assateague Island National Seashore to take in some of the primitive beauty of the day. A trail leads me out to the marsh, and also runs alongside the ocean. I notice the sulfuric smell from the marsh’s salty air. In the high grass I watch a young rabbit, looking for its mother, I assume. The young rabbit appears frantic as it regards my company; also, he’s not able to locate his mother. A little later on, I can see her further down the trail, fully indulged with grazing, and savoring the grass before her. She seems to be completely unaware of both my presence and the younger rabbit’s panicked state.
Off of the trail, there are quite a lot of fallen trees lying among the tall marsh grasses, which are growing up and around the limbs. I’m sure this makes perfect cover for these rabbits. Dark brackish water lies between these little islands of cover, with high grass and remnants of felled Loblolly. The silky long appearance of the grasses, plush and soft to the eye, is a perfect contrast to the coarse and jagged bark of both the standing and prostrate piney timber that is intertwined and interwoven throughout this sandy coastal forest.
Approaching the tiny and now frantic rabbit, I crouch down, and examine him a little more closely. I lay on my belly and hold the camera out. The little rabbit, which is no bigger than my fist, seems calmer and begins to eat at the grass around him. It isn’t long before mom becomes aware of the photoshoot. I can see her notice the little one’s moving about, and I watch her as she becomes concerned, and then moves quickly toward us.
I move further along the trail. A pair of cardinals touches down beside me, as if spontaneously deciding to stop in for an informal visit. But, as quickly as the spontaneous calling had come, the couple departs, perhaps remembering an engagement of theirs, so it appears…
The marsh opens to a vast expanse of sea green grass stretching almost as far as I can see. How beautiful are the colors of the grasses and the water in between, reflecting the sky. Standing amidst these colors is a perfectly white Great Egret. With my camera in hand, I study the long necked egret as it saunters through the water, in between the tall stems of grass. Eventually she decides to take flight as well, and leaves me staring out at the marsh wanting more, more of this peace…Peace of mind.
Step away, and look into nature. Look deep into it...
Nature enthusiast Martin James Wood is an outdoor writer and blogger for The Wood's Edge. He has spent his life among the forests and woods, admiring nature with a camera and pen. His writing, artistry, and outdoor photography celebrate nature’s simplicity and beauty. A Pennsylvania native, Martin James is a loving father and husband, and a friend to our nation’s forests who believes in protecting and preserving our wild lands.