I remember now why I stopped playing in the woods at this house.
THORNS and spiders.
I remembered about the spiders, but forgot about the thorns.
This morning instead of going to the gym like I normally would I decided that I’d take an hour walk around in the woods because it’s warm and it’s early enough in the year that there won’t be spiders. I used to play in the woods all the time and it’s been years since I’ve explored the 90 acres we live on. A large part of the motivation for this little walk was to check out my old tree house which never got the use it deserves. I wanted to see how well it’s held up to more than a decade of neglect.
It looked better than I expected. There was a rotted board on the deck but everything else looked pretty much exactly how I remembered…except for the two raccoons. I definitely don’t remember two raccoons living there the last time I checked. I almost didn’t see them until it was too late. I opened the door and glanced around surprised it wasn’t filled with leaves like the last time I checked. I did notice a couple of hornet’s nests on the ceiling, so I bent to grab the branch laying on the deck to knock them down when movement at the corner of my eye caught my attention. It was a BIG raccoon looking generally sleepy and bewildered at the fact that there was now a giant hole in the wall with a human standing in it staring at him. At first I thought there was just one, but then I saw the other one tucked underneath the branch that runs through the west corner. Sure that if I tried to chase them off that they’d claw my face off, I quickly shut the door and left. I’ll let my dad deal with them.
After that I wandered over to the Back 40 to check that out. I honestly don’t think I’ve been over there more than a dozen times in all the years we’ve lived here and I couldn’t remember why. Now I do. It’s practically overrun with thorn…plants. I have no idea what kind of plant they are, all I know that there are multiple species and one is a tree that looks like nails are growing from it. They are seriously long enough to kill you if you run into them hard enough, and I’m not even exaggerating. Most of the thorn plants seem to like to grow in long sticks springing from the ground in clumps then weave themselves together in an impassable thicket of pain.
Even then everything was fine until I decided that I didn’t want to walk home the way I came and to walk INTO the thicket.
I’m starting to think it’s the fresh air. Maybe I should give it up for Lent. Doubt it could hurt much more than thorns.
Anyway within 10 feet I was completely stuck. Surrounded on all sides with stupid clumps of thorn sticks. You can’t just bully through unless you like thousands of little scratches that hurt like paper-cuts or to rip massive holes in your clothes. I didn’t even know which way to go. I couldn’t go back, because I’m stubborn about backtracking, sometimes for no good reason. It’s an awful feeling to be completely surrounded by thorns with no obvious way out, knowing that no matter which direction you pick you’ll find more thorns. The worst part was discovering an unnoticed thorn stick plants by accidentally smashing it with my inner thighs. Or having little thorn sticks fall into your boot tops.
At least I finally got out. Just like everything else you’ve just got to keep moving forward even when there are no good options and it’s your own stupid fault that you’re surrounded by uncaring thorns…
Whoa, got a little deep there. Now if you excuse me I’ve got some cuts to take care of.