Went to church today. Tied on my hiking boots and strode south with the light of our star full on my face. The cats came. Passing lines of baled hay, waiting their turn, I wondered at all the small creatures that must take wild rides when their particular bale is lifted and carried on the spike to huddled, waiting cattle, hooves stamping with impatience, heads butting others out of the way. Winter is difficult for calves and for bred cows but they usually make it through.
I walked past the tank battery and slip/stumbled my way down an incline and into what I fondly refer to as 'the cathedral', a wide open space with branches arching across the top from all sides. I can barely see the sky in summer. Today the space was full of bright air, almost shining with winter. No snow, but the smell and silence of this frosty season. The creek was running clear, a large stingray shaped slab of ice gliding past, just below the surface, soundless as it rode the current through sun sparked water.
Praise all that is holy, the water pump was silent as well. Ahhh…such a relief. I will be happy when that monstrosity is gone for good. There was much more evidence of the beaver family's presence. Yes, I have called the Game Warden, twice. No answer. I will hit redial and try again tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow. The dastardly little beasts (the beaver, not the wardens) are still trying to do some damage on the giant Cottonwoods but not making any progress to speak of.
I know these woods are full of creatures but saw very few; one white tailed deer, bounding away with a huff, and one slow, supremely unconcerned armadillo. I'm thinking it must be fairly slim pickins for that little guy this time of year. There was another one in my own yard today, a teenager I believe. Armadillos can't see squat and can hear even less. It's a wonder they survive at all…I suppose the full body armor helps.
This dead Cottonwood, having lost all its branches still offers itself as shelter to those seeking such. Generous indeed.
That lower home looks like it was cut with a saw, but it wasn't. This hole reminds me of Rabbit or Pooh's home in the Hundred Acre Wood stories. There were no honey pots inside. I looked, as did the cats.
When I wander the woods alone I am usually remembering the many times I have tramped through them with my own children and, more recently, with theirs. There is always something new to notice, to discover, even for me. Things that rustle in the grass but forever remain unseen.
The woods are a place where your imagination can run wild, along with your feet. Today I did no singing, leaving that honor to moving water and sentry birds. There are no secrets from the birds and, hence, from every living thing that gives them attention.
The cats, when they accompany me on these rambles, rarely stay nearby. They wander and hunt, thoroughly sniffing everything and staying extremely alert every second we are among the trees. They hear much that I, apparently, do not and are always delighted to turn their noses homeward, rollicking along ahead of me, tails arched sideways.
A quiet day that did me a world of good. I feel very different in the woods now than I did four years ago. Now I am part of the woods, like the trees themselves and the running creek. Then I was in need of healing and comfort. I'm okay now. I am way around the bend and looking ahead. Being.
Being happy and myself.