watercolor illustration of crows flying through spring trees by Alexandra Schaefers

The scent of Magnolia blossoms draws me along the trail into their grove. The blossoms form colored clouds and layer against each other in the green, adding a murky aliveness to the quivering air as it makes room for the bursting buds and rain droplets.

One crow forages alone at the edge of a large grassy slope punctuating the green. When I look down the trail I see flashes of other crows slipping between the trees. The cloud cover deepens their black feathers so they drip through the woods like oil.

watercolor illustration of a crow at the edge of a green slope by alexandra Schaefers

I sit on a bench and reach into the lace of bird song for the familiars: Scrub Jays, Yellow Warblers, Dark-eyed Juncos, Spotted Towhees, and crows. A woman walks past so engrossed in her phone her steps seem suspended. I do not exist in her attention even peripherally and I wonder if this how a forest creature feels, hiding in its own stillness as we pass unaware.

The rain drops become larger as I write in my sketchbook so I get on the trail again and head for the picnic shelter.

sketchbook drawing of spring maple buds by Alexandra Schaefers

A Spotted Towhee darts across the trail from one brushy cover to another. I feel as though my whole life is the same sort of comic but necessary dash; so I stop to photograph the rusty hues of dead salal leaves and draw a few buds from the spray of spring twigs along the trail.

I came here to admire magnolia blossoms. How delicate and soft the petals are, even on blossoms larger than my hands. Now I have forgotten all about them and find myself snuggled on all sides by the viscosity of green things sending ripples of growth across the air as they turn light and water into fiber.

watercolor painting of a magnolia blossom by Alexandra Schaefers

I want today to be the day everything changes. The day I walk into beauty and never come back. All I have to do is stop minding my worries. They can fuss around me like small children while I dwell in each growing moment unimpressed with their complaints.

A junco flies in and hops around the rivets of the shelter support. Another one lands on the trash and peers into its dark opening. He sees nothing of interest and flies off.

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