Just two weeks to the end of summer. Then the changing of the leaves. It seems almost like cheating to live in mountains as beautiful as these are in every season, every weather, every time of day and at night. They're lush and bountiful with the life force. Having the green world in such abundance around us, it's uplifting within to drive in it or walk in it. No matter how my mind is racing, a walk in the woods calms it right away.
In the past I have taken a bottle of wine or whatever liquor I want, like Wild Turkey Rye, a book, paper, pen and camera, a few apples, and went to a moss-covered rock beside the creek with water falling over rocks to my right and my left, each with a different sound, and sit there all day from the time I get up in the morning, or soon after, until the clouds turn pink. The amount of time is not a rule. Nothing is a rule. Sometimes I spend a fair amount of time in a beautiful place in the woods. Just sit down and enjoy all that's around me. I'll do this in future too. I know some places tourists never find.
It's no fun without a dog. Cats are not good walking in the woods companions. They are alert to on edge past a certain distance from the house, and then there's the distance where they're freaking out from anxiety. They know this is where the cat eaters come out at night and look for cats. Then there's the distance they won't go beyond. At that point, they find a place to hide and wait for me to come back. They'll wait for any number of hours for me to return, so I have to return the same way I went. Caterpillar gives out first. TarBaby can go quite a ways, but then he wants me to hold him. He wants to climb on my shoulder. He begs and pleads with me to take him back home, using claws for emphasis.
If I don't have to go on for some reason, I'll stop there and turn around so they can settle down and go home. If I have a reason to go on, TarBaby will find a place to hide, a culvert is a good hideout for a cat. He will wait there until I come back, no matter how long it is. When I pass that way going back, he needs to be held and petted and talked to and thanked for his devotion. Who would I wait 3 or 4 hours in a culvert for? I draw a blank.
I heard a screech owl just over my left shoulder, once, no more than 15 feet away. I sat stone still and the owl did its screeching. I imagined what that sound must do to a mouse. Possibly it scares them so much it sets them in motion so the owl can spot them. It's an eerie sound up close. From a little distance it sounds kind of pretty. Up close it sounds like Dracula is going to get you. I'm going to eat you when I catch you little mouse.
I've seen a bluejay settle on a branch no more than 20 feet away and groom its feathers right there in front of me. That was a joyous feeling. Saw a crow do the same thing, but more like 30 to 40 feet away, higher up in the trees. Those are moments you don't dare expect. They just happen as they happen. Like a redtailed hawk flying just a few feet ahead of the hood of the truck driving down my road. I see it turn its head left and right, left and right, looking back with one eye and forward with the other. Those are special moments. Unforgettable moments.
Walking down the back road that was the wagon road up the mountain along the spine of a ridge all the way down to Whitehead, down to where the creek that flows from the waterfalls runs under the road, is a beautiful walk. Winter, 6 to 8 inches of snow, I was walking with the dog at the time Sadie, snow everywhere and the dark lines of tree limbs, branches and twigs everywhere, something like a snowscape on a Japanese screen that went all the way around the viewer. A crow flew up over the ridge from my left to my right, no more than 2 feet over my head. I heard the sound of wings. And lived to tell it.