Mondays are my super official day off. Not that I'm working much at all lately, or getting much else accomplished because of a little back trouble of late. But still. I've been repeating a mantra since my return from vacation "Commune with the world outside, nature, the garden, and write about it". And so, after my morning pages and coffee and cake and David got off to work, I headed out, down past the pond to the creek again. Today was cool, I had on pants and socks and shoes.
Patiently following a low slow thunking yielded a pileated
woodpecker, his crest so brilliant, like a flame bursting out of the top
of his head. And a black and white warbler, first one since spring,
busily eating bugs. I'm reminded that when
birding in the fall, it's not so much about sound and song as movement,
the warbler was making not a peep, it was the chatter of some other bird
that drew my eye up to where he fed.
No matter how
quietly I approach the pond, the turtles kerplunk into the water before I
can spot them, they must feel the vibration of me walking. I never
know what might be hanging out on the water, herons, ducks, otters or
beavers, but not today, just the mud turtles, splashing back into the brown water where they wait for me to walk on by.
Again I saw the deer, same spot, today only two, they ran across the creek this time then stood, white tails flicking, watching me watch them. They were silhouetted in the sunlight, I could see the whiskers on their chins, the light passing through their tall black edged ears. Eventually they snorted, stomped and zig-zagged away into the forest.
At this sparkly place, where the creek is particularly chatty, right where I had been wading just yesterday afternoon, a barred owl flew silently up and out of the creek. I tried to follow- see where he landed, crept along the path and scared him up two mores times, flying further into the tree tops, I never could spot him with my binoculars but know that if I had, he would have been staring right back at me, waiting for my next move.
I've been reading Annie Dillard. Had never been able to get into Pilgrim at Tinker Creek for some reason. The wild tangents perhaps, she can go on a tangent. But I'm giving it another try and its working for me this time, even though I have to press on through some sections. But there are moments of brilliance throughout- guess that's why she got the Pulitzer huh? For example: "Night is rising in the valley; the creek has been extinguished for an hour, and now only the naked tips of trees fire tapers into the sky like trails of sparks."
I want to spend the next 3 seasons being the Pilgrim at Morgan Creek. Let's just see if I can make it happen, maybe you'll come along for the ride?