Bil Browning

31 Days: Red in the Indiana Forest

Filed By Bil Browning | August 20, 2011 10:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: red in the forest, spark of love, splash of color

This photo's story is after the jump.


I'm doing a series of posts for 31 days that will feature a photo from my personal collections and the backstory behind the picture. I'm trying to stick with shots that have not appeared on the site before. I'm using the stories as a writing exercise to help me prepare for writing a book. You can find the rest of the series posts here:

Jerame and my first date was horrible. We both agree, it just stunk. One of the biggest problems was the choice of where to break bread together for the first time; Jerame picked a sports bar/restaurant. But that's a story for another time...

For our second date, we agreed that I'd choose the entertainment. I took Jerame on a walk in the fall woods at a nature preserve and we stopped by a Buddhist monastery to do a few meditations before going to dinner. Our second attempt had about as much glamor to it for Jerame as the sports bar had for me. But it was the spark for our relationship - our willingness to tolerate what we'd normally avoid if it made the other one happy for a while.

I love walking in the woods - no matter the time of year. If I'm clambering up a hillside on a narrow trail or getting lost amongst acres of forest, I'm happy. I like the quiet and the disconnect; it soothes and calms me quite a bit.

In the fall of 2009, I was getting antsy about being cooped up in the house soon for winter and begged Jerame to go for one last walk through the woods with me while the weather was relatively warm. Jerame's not into hiking as much as I am, but he agreed to go.

Since it was late in the year, the trees had already lost their leaves and the paths were covered and hard to see. We bumbled around, sometimes on the path and sometimes not, until we came across a mostly dry creek bed and a bright smudge of color. It stood out dramatically in the landscape of muted browns and greens.

It was easy to tell that Jerame wasn't having the best time; he was trudging around in the November woods because I wanted to do it. Momentarily annoyed at his lack of enthusiasm, I realized that it was a small sign of his love and swallowed my grumble. I flashed back to how a little over ten years before I'd asked Jerame to take our first walk in the woods.

Suddenly I found that spark again and it was just as dazzling as the touch of red in the forest.

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A lovely shot of a classic Hoosier woods that could be almost anywhere -- knowing the Indianapolis area, my guess is it's somewhere in Eagle Creek Park, but I could easily be wrong.

Kind suggestion: When you send out a tweet promoting installments in this "31 Days" series, I suggest you tweet the actual photo so that it's visible in Twitter -- even if you have to include a link to both the post and the photo in the same tweet. Just sayin'.

Touching, inspiring and beautiful. Thanks