Saturday, October 24, 2009
Sight and sound
Remember the Dude? Well, he's back, and as solitary as ever. I thought he'd gotten himself a girlfriend last summer, because I kept seeing a pair on the lake near his usual spot. I tried to photograph them for the blog but could never get close enough for a good shot. It's possible the Dude did find a mate and now he's lost her, but I'm more inclined to think I mistook another bird for him. (Just between you and me, Canada geese look a lot alike.) Still, I feel pretty certain the bird I met this morning was, indeed, the Dude. There's something about his melancholy haughtiness that distinguishes him. A beaver was swimming close by and gave a loud tail slap when I appeared, but the Dude never moved from his place, as if he wouldn't deign to heed a warning from a rodent. It'll be interesting to see if he spends another winter alone here.
Aside from my encounter with the beaver and the Dude, it was pretty quiet on the trail this morning. It was cloudy and chilly, and the woods were damp from all the rain we've been having. The moist air carried scent well, so I got wonderful whiffs of decaying leaves, pine needles and wood smoke from someone's campfire. Most of the leaves have turned but some are still green, so a walk along the trail created a kaleidoscope effect. The world was bright gold, scarlet, green and amber by turns as I passed beneath different clusters of trees. The streams were all running just high enough to create a pleasing babble. There was no other sound except for a few churring wrens, and off in the distance, a red-bellied woodpecker's sharp complaint.
Autumn Rain, Julian Alden Weir, 1890. (I love this painting. Click on the image to see a larger version.)