photo: Jidana Park oaks
We looked for more morels today at Jidana Park, a park I’d never been to before. At first it seemed fine – quiet, empty of people, plenty of birds. There was a beautiful oak knoll, too.

But later it took on a more sinister tone. Maybe it was the big sign saying target shooting required a permit. Maybe it was the high gray overcast sky, or the impenetrable buckthorn, or underbrush cut to dead whips three feet high. Whatever it was, the park felt more like land that had been used up and abandoned than a place for life.

Out into the marsh it felt a little better. We saw turtles and wood ducks, but they seemed unusually skittish, as though they had been used for target practice. The happiest bird I saw was a common yellowthroat
, but even then, its black mask added to my uneasiness.

Before we left, we walked down one last trail, a soggy path through a tunnel of green. Not 50 yards down the trail Jenny spied two young deer, feeding quietly – untroubled, unconcerned. She waved me to stop, and I saw them, too. Pure innocence. Not wanting to intrude, we tip-toed back to the car.