Tuesday, January 24, 2006
I Took A Walk This Evening
I got home before sundown for a change this evening. It was a grey-blue-grey day with colder temps promised for tomorrow. It was just not right to waste an hour of pleasant temperature, bug free, winter woods walking so I grabbed a slice of white bread and stepped out onto the front porch. I glanced left and right, the coast was clear...no dogs in sight.
I headed down the path to the pond.
(You may want to refer to the map from time to time)
At the pond, I walked out onto the dock, sat down legs dangling, and flicked bits of bread on to the water's surface. Countdown...1...2...3..splurp! Bread gone. The bluegills were hungry. I fed the entire slice, bit by bit until at last it was gone. Incredibly, no dog had tracked me down and begged bread.
With the bread now building fish muscle, I dusted the crumbs off and walked north along the pond until I hit the driveway. The oaks were alive with warblers and cardinals and I noticed my first winter robins in the brush.
The driveway would just take me back to the house, so I headed west through the woods along a little gokart trail the kids had made. The trail took me through oaks until I wound up behind the pistol range. The deer had been busy foraging along the range backstop, their tracks covered the sandy mound. I looked for arrowheads since it had rained lightly this morning, but alas...none.
The trail beckoned, so I walked to the planted pines in the southwest corner and paused where best dog Ranger lies between two longleaf pines. I had not walked the south fence line in a while, so I patted the pines where Ranger's atoms now reside and moved east along the fence.
This fence. Could it be 20 years since Ranger and I camped on this vacant woodland, in freezing temps, while we strung fence on our new land? Any way you cut it, 1986 really was 20 years ago.
I checked the progress of some young cedars and black cherries that I had planted along the fence last year. The cedars were fine, but some of the black cherries were deer chomped. Situation normal...
In the open area between the pigs and the south fence, I followed a gopher tortoise trail through tall grass down into the oak forest that flows east to the swampy southeast corner. It was here that I stopped to admire some glossy black sparkleberries (farkleberries?) and decided to gather a few things to lay on the scanner when I got back to the house.
I looked around for volunteers...some red bay leaves, lichen, a water oak, that tall blue grass, cedar, smilax, yaupon...then I stopped...what was that sound? The dogs were tracking me, I could hear them coming through the woods following my scent.
I crouched down behind a palm until they were on me, but not aware of me. I jumped up and growled, they started, barked and ran back a few feet before wagging tails signaled recognition. I love messing with their heads.
After that, my pack and I worked our way down to the pond where we grabbed a few holdout cypress leaves and a pinch of empty blue curls seed cups.
We were back to the dock. Circumnavigation complete.
The dogs ran ahead as I walked up the path to the porch.
Posted by R.Powers at 6:24 PM