I have collecting to do today and I take a wheelbarrow out with me preferring not to drive a vehicle if I can avoid it. Little is discovered when one drives. Walking, even when toting something heavy, there is always the chance to see, hear, or feel something important.
I stop to write at the old fence line. Leaves are gold and falling. I have seen the tracks of a very large raccoon and a large mule deer. A humpie thrashing on the gravel bar below alerts me to its life and short future. I had something I thought was worth writing when I got here, but I can't remember what it was.
I was thinking about the moisture and how the meadows are always damp with dew in the marginal hours of the day. How a ground fog develops in the evening, sometimes coming up the valley against the river. But here, up against the base of the forested hill, the damp comes down from above. It descends in a slow flowing roll picking up more wet as it passes through cedar and brush. In the fields, the moisture is at foot, something you walk through and pick up on your boots and pant legs. Here, you stand in a slow flowing river of cool damp that is coming over, going past and washing through on it's way to the lowest spot in the valley. You cannot see it, you can probably not measure it, but you can feel it, you can feel the weight of it all.
I collect as many of the bird feathers that I can from the kill site that I saw on Sunday. They are spotted and some have buff coloring. If I could reassemble the bird it might have striped patterns and a buff patch. I think it might be a northern flicker that has been taken by a hawk. A second smaller bunch of feathers that I saw on Sunday is gone.
I pace distance to the trail that leads to the squatter cabin. Then, since I am here and prepared, I measure and record some CMT's (culturally modified trees) that are along the path. Then I try to walk up to the cabin, having said in my last post that I could find it in the dark. But, it completely eludes me. I know that I am within 50 or 75 yards, but I cannot find it. This irritates me a little, but is also an important detail ("T", who is pretty comfy in the woods told me that he can never find it from below, but only by coming down on it.) The cabin is very difficult to see, even when one knows about where it is. This is how someone could build such a structure without getting caught. I do find a state DNR witness post, which although I am not certain, hints that the cabin is probably on state land.
|a favorite nurse stump|