En route, I listened to some of my favorite songbirds singing passionately to attract mates. Scarlet tanagers belting out their rough, two-syllable "chip-burr" notes, and rose-breasted grosbeaks singing sweetly like robins that had taken voice lessons. Black-throated green warblers sang a melodious five-syllable phrase that Beethoven would have copied, had he ever had the fortune to walk in an American forest. The chorus of yellow warblers, redstarts, towhees, veeries and the incomparably beautiful and flute-like wood thrushes produced the music fitting an entry to a magical setting. And so I entered chest-deep into my favorite pool as a yellow throat flittered out of the bushes to grab a mayfly.
I took the shortcut, an overgrown trail now used only by deer. Along the way, like a royal carpet welcoming me, were star flowers, bluet, gay wings, bird's-foot violets, jack-in-the-pulpits, azaleas, geraniums and lilies of the valley. I realized, as I paused to enjoy fully the spectacle of these wild and temporal beauties, that I was no longer in a rush to pass them by as I used to be many years back.