A Forest Field Trip, Part III: An unexpected interlude

The students have finally finished flailing about in the undergrowth. It is time to hike back to the bus and head home. Sigyn, however, would like a little more time to look at plants. She has heard there is a big Carolina laurel cherry (whatever that is) blooming down by the creek and would like to go and look at it. But back to the staging area we all slog.

Miraculously, we have lost no one. (What’s one Midgardian ape creature more or less? But the instructor seems to want them all back.)

The driver has started the bus, and there is the most appalling squealing coming from the vicinity of the engine. Oh! Now there is a noxious smell of burning rubber to go with the noise. And smoke! Look at all that white smoke! I’m no mechanic, but I would guess that this bus is not going anywhere any time soon. Beneath the access hatch I am now standing on, something important has undoubtedly died a most dramatic and untimely death.

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Everyone is on their communication devices, calling for a vehicle capable of towing a bus, trying to find a mechanic who could come look at the vehicle, or advising loved ones that we will be late returning home. Possibly very late.

Ah. The driver has arranged for another bus to come from College Station to get us. That means we have a further 2.5 hours in this lovely woods. We shall all be very, VERY late returning home. Now, I am not saying I am responsible for the breakdown, and I’m not saying I’m not responsible for the breakdown. Let it merely be noted that whatever sweet Sigyn wants, she tends to get. Coincidence? You be the judge.

This unexpected reprieve gives Sigyn and me a chance to do a little more exploring. There are a number of very interesting fallen logs that need investigating. <poke, poke> The wood is very soft–are there termites under the bark there, Sigyn? Any good grubs that would like to snuggle in the human female’s pockets?

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We also have time to look for more wildflowers. Sigyn has cleverly found one of the shy little violets that bloom this time of year. She says the flowers have cat whiskers. I can see that.

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Ahh. This really has been a nice day. The rain has held off (mostly), Sigyn has had her fill of trees and flowers, and I have had the joy of her company in a very pleasant forest. Come, my love, we still have another hour before the replacement bus arrives. Let us rest awhile on this emerald carpet and admire the sway of tree branches against the pearly sky.

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