As I entered the Blood Town Forest I expected a lot of things. The trash in the parking lot told me it was a party spot. OK, blind eye to that; see through it to the natural beauty of the forest, I said in my usual mantra.
I expected the eastern wood-pewees. They've been singing all over the state for the past three months. And so it was in Lancaster. I expected American goldfinches. Ditto.
But there were things I wasn't expecting, pleasant surprises. There was the great blue heron that I spooked from its hiding spot into a tree. It led me away, flying a few more feet ahead, stopping, turning back to see me, lather, rinse, repeat. It led me back to the parking area. Perhaps it knew something.
I met a small, older woman there, with her hair pulled back in a bun. She was loading her big van with trash. The garbage, she had explained with a wide smile on her face, had come from the woods. People had left it there, but she felt that her fellow townsfolk shouldn't have to see it, so she collected it and disposed of it. She did this every few days as necessary.
Humanity that day got a big boost in my eyes.