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It was a busy week in the woods for Karina and me. On Monday, she was chased by a giant. (Apologies in advance for the poor filming. Think “The Blair Witch Project.”)

(Next time I’ll hold the camera horizontally.)

Then on Thursday, when we reached the spot where I usually let Karina off her leash, she suddenly lurched forward. There was a rush of wings and a bird I’d never seen before flew up onto a nearby tree.

It looked a lot like my old friend Woody Woodpecker. I wondered if I was hallucinating. How could something so fabulous be here?

I wasn’t quick enough with the iPhone to get a photo. In fact, I wish I hadn’t tried, because by the time I’d dug it out of my pocket, the bird had silently disappeared.

When I got home, I learned that it was a pileated woodpecker, fairly common in these parts, even though I’d never seen one before.

Photo courtesy of National Geographic

On Friday, we went back and gathered evidence.

And then this morning, I was reminded that in addition to giants and woodpeckers, fabulous things are turning up in these woods all the time.

Lady slippers are one of my favorite harbingers of spring. They are something I have seen my entire life. Some years they spring up all over these woods. Theirs is a delicate beauty.

I want my grandchildren to come here and see them some day, and I want them to feel the thrill that I felt when I saw my first pileated woodpecker.

That’s a big reason why I write for Moms Clean Air Force. We all need to protect our Mother Earth. In addition to this week’s woodland adventures with Karina, I also wrote a post for them about why Concord’s ban on plastic water bottles is a step forward for clean air.

Happy trails everyone!

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