Strange things have been happening to me lately in the woods of Leetonia. During the last month as a walk the road towards Leetonia I have had three trees fall along side the road within 100 feet of me. The tree fell when there are "no winds". I can tell you when a large tree bits the dust unexpectedly near you in a quiet woods you jump a bit. Even the dogs jump and the hair comes up on their backs looking in the direction of the noise expecting perhaps something making this noise to show itself. But when they can't see or smell anything life returns to normal for them.
But us humans start to wonder. Why are these trees falling(all pines) so close to me on a quiet walk? To add to the mystery, I started to write a book last Spring, fiction, inspired from my childhood summers here with my grandparents. Often I think about the book on my walks and look to the forest for inspiration. The night before the third tree fell I wrote this part of my book, which takes place on the very road I walk on:
"As I walked home from Orenda's I thought about our lesson of silent walking, but the stones in the road called to me to kick them. I chased the little rocks down the road past the ferns then something made me stop and listen. I heard nothing, A cold wave came over the hill. It touched my head and I shivered. The hair on my arms raised and my breath froze in the air. The cold dark wind swirled around me from my head to my toes then disappeared. I ran last half mile home never looking back to see if anything followed the strange wind that silenced the woods."
So I was primed for suspense before the tree fell and after it fell it seemed like more than an accident. How many people have three trees fall during their morning walks in one month. If there is anyone else out there with this many trees falling on calm days please email me.
Not often am I startled or afraid in the woods at least not as an adult. As a child, well lets just say many of the old stumps looked like bears. I can blame my grandfather for collecting all the old hunting magazines that had "Man attacked by bear and survives stories."
One other time I had the hair stand up experience like I mentioned in the story. It was a couple years after we moved up here full time. I was walking with my dog, Jack, who was fearless and by transference naturally made me feel the same. Suddenly, I felt like I was being watched, the kind of watched you feel when you think something wants to eat you. I had the uneasy feeling a mountain lion might be out there. Never saw it, nor did Jack, and I have never felt that way again. It is more common to have an animal pop up that you didn't sense or see and startle you, but fear leaves you fast when you see it is a grouse or some other animal that doesn't attack people.
People not used the woods get nervous when they can't use their cell phone or it is just too "quiet" for them. I get more nervous in a big city then walking in the woods alone. If any of you had a scary experience in the forest of Tioga or any forest email me I would love to hear about it. For now I am watching out for those trees making sure they don't decide to land on me instead of along side me. Mountain girl, Paula, logging out.