After a dingy start, a wind blew in around midday, busted up the clouds, the sun came out and the sky went clear blue. I pulled together my bag of tricks; water, snack, camera and journal and headed out on what I like to call a lark. For a change of pace I headed up Morgan Creek to see if I could find a place that I had been told had a stone circle. I walked along the level and slower moving section of the creek, where the bottom is wide and full of pine trees on the north side, steep rocky bluffs to the south with the sinuous grey roots of beech trees spreading out through the brown leaf litter like long fingers gripping the hillside. Then both sides became steeper, a high bluff on the north side then gave way and I found the circle, set next to one of the biggest beach trees I've ever seen.
I thought "what a perfect place to have a winter solstice gathering, too bad it's on private land." Just beyond this point the path peters out but there is an old bridge footing with a stone wall along one side, I guess this bridge was replaced by the one that now crosses the creek at Dairyland Road. Closer to the stone circle I also found these stepping stones across the creek.
All of this must have been created by John Hartley (who died in the summer of 2011), when he developed Oxbow Crossing back in the late 90's, but I had not seen it before. It seems impossible, but the few times that I walked that far upstream, I somehow missed this place. Now the stones are all covered with moss like they've been there for a century.
I rambled on back down to our land, taking in the sounds of the high wind in the trees, coming gusty on and off. I listened to the sound of the water as it fell down the little shelves and falls, the water level high enough to make a joyful noise, but steady, not rushing, so the eddies were clear.
I watched a winter wren duck in and out of this trees roots, just the sort of spot they love to search for bugs and then hop up to a perch, their tiny tails pointed straight up into the air, bobbing and twittering before disappearing back under a root or into a cavity.
It was a grand day to be out after yesterdays gloomy rain and I wandered down to my favorite bluff of rocks. Always near the winter solstice I make a special point of visiting the places I consider the topography to have the most power and this includes the big rock outcroppings. I was out and about for nearly 2 hours and then came home to finish up the days chores, do a little stretching and hunker down to a supper of freshly cut broccoli, lentil and collard soup made yesterday and a grilled cheese sandwich, talk about your comfort foods. I am feeling comfortable about now.