In case you remember and wonder, I'm still collecting. Each morning I walk in the woods, gathering pinecones and twigs and other pretty things that have fallen from the trees. Some days I explore past the fence and up near the road, but most often, I follow the trails left behind by the fishermen. They lead to secret watering holes one could only find by exploring deep in the trees.
There, the woods are thick with pine trees that are ages old and creeks that have forged their own paths between fallen branches. Sometimes there's not a sound, and others, it's loud and alive. When the sun is above it creates the most beautiful maze of light, bouncing from branch to branch, lightening the paths, making them golden and twinkly. If I stand between the trees and look up, they reach the sky almost and I feel so very small.
I dry the leaves I collect and wire them into sweet little wreaths and string together pinecones with velvet ribbon I found at a church thrift store. They lay in bowls and hang from the hearth and some are put away for holiday gifts.
These woods treat me so well.