Today's morning Out took a different directional turn first thing in the morning but on my way back home from my usual lineup of activities I noticed a dirt turnout close to the River Bridge was clear enough for me to risk parking on its icy crust. I'd worn my thickest thermal socks and winter boots because I'd planned to walk around somewhere before I went home. After I parked I followed some fresh and clearly purposeful coyote tracks. They led to the western bank of a tributary I first noticed for what it was during this visit earlier in the fall.
The apparent whitish haze in the mid-distance is actually ice. It's currently coating every leaf and branch in the outside world.
All vegetation was still as can be in the absence of wind. Not so the birds scavenging with fierce intent. They were a constant flurry of highly focused motion - much too busy to talk among themselves let alone pay much attention to me crunching my way along the stable ledge of water bank. I'd never been here previously. Only gazed at others parked in this spot in order to walk where I was now walking - wondering what their business was. As to my own business on this day: I followed my four legged relative's tracks trotting busily back and forth no doubt on the trail of small or medium sized rodents.
Stood for several long moments breathing deeply at this spot. It was very cold (mid teens) to be standing still but I couldn't bear to rush this first introductory visit. I kept smiling as I made my determined way towards the river and oaks. I could do that because there was no wind today. Had there been I might have gotten back in the car. Had I done that I would have discovered all the snow blocking my usual parking space had melted in our recent rains. I would have been warmer but I would have missed so much. And am glad I didn't.
I took the above on my double-time lope back to the car. By then my fingers actively hurt from the cold as did my toes. I'm posting it out of sequence so you can easily compare what a difference a half an hour and some moody cloud cover can make in these parts.
I crossed the road as soon as I spied safe and relatively sensible opportunities to shoot the western view from a different perspective. The foraging birds were everywhere amidst the brush and marsh grasses. I felt ecstatic to catch sight of the Oak pair on the other side of the bridge.
I chose the two images above (east facing first, then west) to share because they show so many variations of the way moving water changes form as a very gradual process. Below all three Oaks share the same frame from a heightened perspective just before the bridge's sudden descent.
I was very joyous to be here again but kept my exchanges internal. At the higher elevation the ice crust was thicker and slippery. My imagination's engineer - always so eager to slide right on over into metaphor and potentiality - wasn't silent so much as otherwise engaged. Today I was simply a woman walking briskly - one eye cocked towards the water. Watching all the different layers of ways water slows down with the cold. Paying special attention to some new wind/storm damage to the lunar oak. Walking all around the pair's trunks about five feet away from them with my right palm extended towards their bark so we could exchange vibrational hellos. I recognized that it can be as joyous as it is vexing (as well as, let's face, often just as pragmatically likely as not to be the Biggest Mistake Ever) to throw out every plan and rule book and ethical premise a person authentically values. Just as a way to keep up more cogently with what's actually happening in and around all our various spheres of influence.
But mainly I simply was. There. I was There. Taking my place - even though it moved around a lot today - here in this landscape. I felt both accepted and recognized.
Above is something new for all of us! A view of the western river from the opposite bank. I made special note of the hardwoods right at the edge of the river bank here and there on the right hand side of this image. Wondered how many of them were Oak sentries as indicated by the Greeter. The scent of winter's approach is astringent but also crumbly with blown seeds and dried vegetation. I suddenly and abruptly noticed I was missing the vast symphony of plant-scents I've come to associate with being there. On this side of the river most everything's been cleared away for an extensive private boat launch. I saw how that type of development changes everything. Real river bank is excavated and taken away in order to replace what was there with who knows how much tonnage of rough-chunked granite. I saw a bird flying in very low over the water - most likely hoping to score some lunch.
My hands felt like they'd take half an hour (twice that as it turned out ...) to stop burning. My feet and nose weren't far behind. I double-hoofed it back across the road and beelined straight to the turnoff where I'd parked. By the time I was home the sky was completely grey. It's now three hours later still and I just checked our weather forecast. Seems there have been squall bands skewing all around us throughout the afternoon.