Woodland Rambles.

LIST, just for a moment glance at the

 inducements which  are  held out to  us  to

 step  aside from the  ordinary  cares  and  

perplexities  of every-day life,  and drink in the

 health-giving, invigorating  air  of some  of  

these  delicious spring days.  We naturally leave 

the crowded busy  streets,  and  are  drawn,  as

  if  by  a strong  magnet power, toward the  

grand  old woods.  If  it  be  spring-time,  as  it 

 now  is, and the  eye  has become  weary of 

 gazing  at naked branches,  and the feet tired of

  treading the frost-hardened  earth,  or,  as  is

  too often the  case,  the  body has lost its 

elasticity from,  long inaction  and  confinement

 in  over-heated  rooms,  then  will  the  woods 

 have a charm for us, which we may seek for in

  vain, elsewhere.

"Come  ye  into the  grand  old  woods! 

There  entereth no alloy.'

All  that is found within these  grand  temples 

 of Nature is from the hand of  the great 

Master Workman, and  will bear the close   

inspection  of  the  most  critical  eye.  How 

quickly will  one forget  his weariness  as  he 

listens  to  the  first  gush  of  melody  which 

issues  from  the  overfull  throat  of  the  

red breasted  robin,  as  he  tilts  among  the 

swelling  leaf-buds,  and  almost  cheats  one 

into the  belief  that he  is  a  breathing, 

vocalized blossom of  spring-time, so  bright is

 his plumage  amid  the  tender  greenness  of 

 the bursting  foliage.  Involuntarily, and  often

 unconsciously,  we  attempt  an  imitation  of 

the bird-note, thus giving our lungs free  and 

healthful  action,  and  more  fully  preparing 

the  body for the  work which  is  in  store for 

it.  We almost forget the song and the singer, 

as our steps lead  us along the woodland 

pathway  in search  of new  beauties, which  

every spring  unfolds.  We  may  be  too  early for 

the  sweet  violet  or  anemone;  but  are  we 

not fully compensated for the disappointment 

as  our eyes rest upon a little knoll of ragged 

earth,  and  as  we stoop to  examine the  tufts 

of  emerald  moss  surrounding,  and  oftentimes 

crowning it,  to find nestled  among the 

greenness the  brilliant  berries  of  the  

Mitchella, or  partridge  berry,  while  the 

 scarlet leaves  of  the  last  year's  blackberry

  vine cling lovingly to the  parent stem,  only

 waiting   to  be  pushed  off  when  Dame  Nature 

shall  have seen fit to  provide  a suitable   

substitute?  Thus we slough off the old leaf of an 

in-door existence  through  the  "tedious  

winter" and give place to new springs of thought 

and  action by  coming in  contact with woodland  


I never was more fully aware  of the   

beneficial  effects  of  a ramble  of  this  kind, 

than on the eleventh day of December last.  I had 

been trying to imagine myself  ill  during the 

morning,  and  feeling  as  if the  clerk  of  the 

weather had made a mistake in not sending the 

snow in  time  to  cover the  unsightly rubbish 

that  usually  collects  in  back  yards  after  a 

Massachusetts Thanksgiving, when my sister 

proposed that I should  accompany her to the 

woods  for  ferns  and  mosses.  Ferns  and 

mosses!  What could the child  be thinking 

of!  Ferns  and  mosses the eleventh day of 

December!  To  show  my  willingness  to 

please  her,  and  my sisterly  regard  for  her 

extreme want of wisdom, I robed  myself  in 

coat, hat, boots  and mittens, and, armed with 

a trowel  and  a carving-knife, we started.  A 

brisk walk of a mile brought us to the woods 

in  question.  By the time I  had climbed the 

first wall  the  ugly pain  in  my shoulder was 

entirely  forgotten,  and, in  fact, had  taken 

its departure.  The uncomfortable chill which 

had vexed me  during the morning had given 

way to  a warm  glow,  and  I  found  mittens 

and  coat becoming quite burdensome.    

Rubbish no longer met my eyes;  but every fallen 

trunk  and  broken  tree-limb  showed    

evidence  of  the  great artist's  handiwork.  No 

lady's skillful fingers  ever wrought such    

delicate  lace  work,  as  encased  many  of  the 

moss-covered  branches  which  strewed  our 

pathway,  and  formed  a  misty  covering  for 

the  gray old  rocks.  Each  step  brought us 

in close contact with some new miracle which 

we  did not attempt to  explain.

With  every  new  beauty  came  added 

strength,  and  a desire to  prolong  our  rambles, 

until we found ourselves on the outskirts 

of  the  wood,  on  the  border  of  a  swampy 

meadow, from the  center  of  which  gleamed 

scarlet  tufts  of vegetation  from  among  the 

dry,  brown grass.  As  we  investigated  the 

matter more fully, we found it to  be  the    

Sarracrnia,  or pitcher plant, which is  among the 

most  curious of  our American wild flowers. 

In  early summer-time  the  petiole  is  usually 

filled  with  water,  in  which  are  myriads  of 

drowned  insects.  To-day, each  crimson 

petiole  held  a  globule  of  transparent  ice. 

Each  cluster contained from  twenty, to fifty 

or  sixty  of  these  hirsute,  delicately-veined 

drinking-cup'',  which  by  the  aid  of  our 

friendly trowel and carver we soon had in our 

possession,  roots  and  all.  La  Place  once 

said  that certain discoveries  in mathematics 

had  lengthened  the  life  of  the  astronomer, 

by enabling him to realize new privileges and 

new delights.  As truly may it be said  that 

my  woodland  ramble  on  a  chill  December 

day  imparted  more  strength  and  health  to 

mind  and  body than the  mere  moping over 

the  "cheerful  anthracite,"  and  inhaling  its 

poisonous  gases,  could  have  done,  even 

though  it  might  have  been  thought  more 

comfortable  at  the  time.  Suffice  it-to  say 

that the  products of  that day's  ramble    

carried joy and gladness to many hearts beside 

our own;  for  after being skillfully  and    

artistically arranged among ferns, and other 

wood land  productions, they occupied  a most   

conspicuous position at the Woman's Bazaar held 

in Boston during the Christmas holidays, and 

were  then  scattered  far  and  near  to  cheer 

the  invalid  in  her  sick-room,  and  pervade 

the  close  atmosphere  with  a breath  of wood 

land sweetness.

If nine-tenths of our school-girls, who, after 

reciting  a shabby lesson in French  and  Ger- 

man  within  the  walls  of  an  over-heated 

school room,  and then  after a  dainty (?)  dinner 

 of roast turkey, plum pudding, mince pie, 

nuts  and raisins, seat themselves  in  a  

lounging chair, and study into the mysteries of

 the last  new  pattern  of  crotchet  or  tatting,

  if they  would  but  take  a  luncheon-basket  on 

their  arm,  and  go  into the woods,  and  after 

doing full justice to the edibles, give  as much 

time to  examining the  exquisite formation of 

the ferns,  and the minute flowering of the   

various mosses as they would be likely to 

expend on  useless  and  expensive  fancy  work,

  they would  find  that not only had their bodily    

organs  received  new impetus for  activity,  but 

the mental powers had been strengthened and 


I have dwelt more particularly upon springtime

 rambles,  because this is the time of  the 

"annual miracle,"  but  one  can  derive benefits 

from woodland  rambles at all  seasons of 

the  year.  What can be more refreshing to 

the  overtaxed  brain ' and  weakened  body, 

than to throw aside  all  care of household 

duties  and study confinement,  and spend  a day 

with  a  congenial  companion,  in the midst of 

the beauties of a summer woods.  One  needs 

no  book;  for  is  not  the  great Book of Nature 

open to us, speaking  audibly in  the    

musical rustle of the leaves, in the tall tree-tops, 

in  the rippling  brooklet which flows  at  our 

feet,  and in  the myriad insects which flash in 

the sunlight?  At such  a season  one  drinks 

in  the very "elixir  of  life."  Autumn    

presents no less attractions than docs the

 queenly summer.  She  spreads  her  many 

colored carpet  beneath  our feet,  and woos  us

  with her mild  breezes to take a new lease of 

life by a stroll among her varied landscapes.

  Looked you  ever  through  stained  windows  of 

richer  coloring  than  those  through  which 

you gaze  as you enter the autumn woods  and 

look  up  to  the  clear,  blue  sky?  Did 

your feet ever enter  a  grander cathedral?

Did you ever go into the woods  after one 

of  those  spring  snow storms  which  

sometimes come even after we have begun to

 look for spring  blossoms?  The  keen, frosty  air 

may make you shiver for  a few moments, but 

all discomfort is soon forgotten, in the beauty 

of the scene before you.  Like  a fairy palace 

is the grand old wood!  No tessellated pavement 

of Roman  antiquity  can  vie  with  the 

matchless "Carara" which is broken here and 

there only by the tiny, geometric tracks of the 

rabbit.  Snowy arches lighted up by the bright 

morning  sunlight,  over  which  bend  the 

branches of the tall, stately pines whose 

massive trunks  look like  grim sentinels  

guarding the entrance to this palace of beauty.

  Everything within range of our vision  has 

received a pure baptism, while over all hangs the

 clear, blue  dome  of  heaven.  Can  one look  

upon a scene  like this  and  not feel  his  whole

 soul go  out  in  love  and  adoration  to  the 

 Good Father who has made us only a little  

lower than the  angels?  Let us look well to it,

 that we keep our  bodies in  a condition, by 

proper exercise,  and  a  personal  contact  with 

 the beauties  of  the  outer world  that  they may 

indeed  be  fit "temples  of  the  Holy  Ghost." 

Herald of Health.