I accidentally went hiking today.
While I am writing, Knoxville the basic infrastructure for my vagabond author’s habit, (working on the second book in the Mermaid Underground series…book one available here) I often stop to take a walk. It’s a good way to get back into that smooth writing groove.
One of my favorite parks, New Harvest Park, has a paved quarter-mile track. It’s pleasant enough, rising at the back end to give walkers a view of the trash bins behind Target and Great Clips. There are benches, too, at the elevated back end of the loop.
And, just off to the right, behind the benches…a mown path that soon turns up into the trees. No sign, no invitation or explanation save this mown path through the tall grasses and brambles. Today I took this dubious welcome and veered off the paved way, up, up into the shady trees.
Tennessee woods are moody. They can exhale a sweetness that cools even in the heat of summer. They can be oppressive, drawing in the hot breath of still, moist air and laying it on you like a blanket. Today, rain was coming. The breeze was cool, the sky gray. The woods met the rain with rising moisture from the clay mud below my feet, and I was caught between.
Spiders had flung their nets, thin as a single strand of hair, over the trail. Strand by strand I was caught and broke free, until, by the time I emerged back to the clipped lawns of the civilized part of the park, I was shrouded and veiled, festooned with near-invisible wings, legs, pieces of exoskeleton left behind from the feasts of spiders in the night.
I found the delicate wings of a lunar moth, severed from its body. I took them with me and kept them in a mint tin.