I was on a dawn snowshoe hike, headed for the section of the preserve known as The Old Woods, a place with old growth trees and a good chance to see raccoons snoozing in lofty hollows or big pileated woodpeckers excavating trunks for their breakfasts. Tulip
The first thing I realized was how unnatural it felt just to sit still, with no other purpose in mind beyond the sitting. I’d sat still to watch wildlife before, for long stretches of time even, but at those times I’d had a purpose, a focus. Now, I had only the hope that something would happen. It felt wrong, as if I was wasting time, but I had nowhere to be, no one waiting for me. If I got up and moved on, I had only my own impatience to blame. In the first five minutes, I glanced at my watch no less than ten times. Despite telling myself not to, I would look without realizing what I was doing.
But after the first five minutes, I started to relax. I heard the dead leaves quaking in the nearby beech tree, tinkling like chimes. I noticed the tufts of windblown snow that had collected in the rough patches on the trees the night before, the blue tint of the morning light. There were mouse tracks running from one of the bench’s legs to a nearby limb sticking out of the snow. It was from one of the tulip trees, and I could see a few clusters of tulip seeds protruding from the snow’s surface. The mouse must have been using them to pad his winter larder.
From the bench, I had a good view of the surrounding woods. The “summit” was only a small bump in the landscape, but the sloping sides and the bare winter branches in every direction allowed me to see a good ways off. And that was why I could see the fox.
I'll tell you the rest (and what this has to do with Violet) tomorrow!
319 days old