Walking in the woods is a solitary, magical pursuit. Whether it's done in the early morning hours as the sun lifts a corner of the day or at dusk while the cool of evening takes hold, nature has the power to astound.
Having recently relocated to the island of St. Thomas from the seasonal mid-Atlantic, my senses are acutely receptive. There are subtle signs that something is drastically different.
First, there's the sound, or lack of it. It's fall but there is no crunch of leaves underfoot. Instead, only raindrops hitting the leaves of trees a mile or so away can be heard. What begins as a hint reaches a crescendo that douses then departs as quickly as it came.
The incessant hum of bees beginning their work on guavaberry blossoms mimics the universal ohm.
Tropical humidity is underrated. What some see as a hairstyle destroyer and mildew creator I believe should be viewed as a celestially produced lubricant. Gone is the cold weather joint stiffness. Haven't taken a glucosamine tablet since my plane touched down. As for the hair - let's just say there's more bounce than there was - elasticity across the board.
Taking a deep breath I'm rewarded with familiar fragrances. Traces of lemon grass, frangipani, blooming orchids, tree bark and hibiscus.
I watch the moon rise in the east as the sun dips below the horizon and the sky becomes alive with stars.
My walks in the Maryland woods were always peaceful - shared with deer, fox and rabbits. But seldom were my senses as awakened as they are here.
Maybe that's how one determines where they belong. When you long to see, hear and smell nature in a way you've become familiar with, that's how you know you're home.