Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Turkeys, leaves, etc.
I came across a flock of turkeys this morning, feeding in a little hollow filled with pine trees. They were scattered across the trail, so I actually waded right in among them. In typical dim-witted turkey fashion, they were very slow to react to my presence. If I’d been a hungry coyote, I probably could have taken one down before they even had the sense to start running. I felt sentimental about them as I watched them flee. There’s something endearing in the awkward stupidity of a panicked turkey. But the predator was alive in me, too, and thought about giving chase.
It’s cold here for this time of year. The temperature was just above freezing, and I was reminded how the winter chill subtly changes the texture of everything. The surface of the lake is glassy, reflecting the sky and the trees with a clarity never seen in the summer. The dirt along the trail is denser, not dusty even in dry weather. The bark of the trees always feels a little damp under your hand, and the moss doesn’t crumble the way it does in the heat.
A steady breeze was knocking the leaves loose from the treetops, and as they fell they skittered off the branches, making a delicate rustle. I stopped to listen and thought That’s the voice of death. Death has a beautiful aspect, as well as a sad one. It's the joy of something set free, released from the confinement of its living form. The random, dry whisper of falling leaves is the sound of that unshackling.
Tree-Man, Hieronymus Bosch (c.1450-1516)