The rustling in the leaves of oak and sassafras reaches a crescendo as light plays in the canopy top and splashes down into the carpet of newly green huckleberry and blueberry leaves.
The Sun winks in and out of billowing clouds that move on the breeze towards the vast ocean over the pines and towns and bay and barrier islands beyond.
Faint sweet scents tease me as I catch them on the air. For today is clement and fine, and this is one of the sweetest days of late spring.
Butterflies flit in jerky patterns between trunks and branches. Newly minted birds sing out with insistent peeping as they learn the ways of the world. Squirrels chatter down as my feet crunch scattered acorn shells, while fence lizards dive into the leaf litter at my approach.
Bees drone on, seeking white and pink candy-striped star blossoms. They plunge into the white mounds of flower heads that reach into the distance and mimic the clouds that drift far above them.
This is mountain laurel time in the Pinelands. Today is clement and fine.