Posts Tagged ‘Nature’

To let go, or not?

Exploring yet within reach

Who is watching us?


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She, of churning sea

He, Celestial Master

I, filled with wonder

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These flowers started popping through the ground and then we got hit with snow. They toughed it out with glorious results.

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A couple years back I was shoveling my driveway and it dawned on me that I wasn’t ‘grooming the track’,  like when I was younger- carefully shoveling so that I could preserve a sloped track perfect for sledding. 

I was, in fact, shoveling a driveway so that cars could use it.  It stunned me in sadness for a moment…

I take great joy in shoveling a portion of the lake bordering my backyard.  It’s grooming an ice surface that I will recreate on.  It’s not meant for cars- it’s meant for fun. 

With an impending snow and ice storm I knew I had to shovel the lake today if I wanted good ice when the temps dropped.  A neighbor had shoveled a very small rink (10’x10′) so I was feeling a little more confident in spite of the fact that open water was 75 ft away.  I pounded the ice with the back end of heavy wooden snow shovel and slowly walked out.  No cracking noises.  Seemed firm.  I began shoveling.

As I shoveled I noticed huge wide cracks in one place–good sign–thin ice doesn’t crack like that.  What caught my eyes next were the footprints in the snow.

Coyote Prints on the Snow (michael plishka, 2008)

Coyote Prints on the Snow (michael plishka, 2008)

It was interesting that every other set of prints left a scuff mark in the snow, as if the coyote was dragging one foot slightly.  I kept digging and noticed foot prints under the snow, melted into the ice. 

Like an archaeologist I swept away the covering snow revealing the tracks below.

Coyote Tracks Frozen in Slush (michael plishka, 2008)

Coyote Tracks Frozen in Slush (michael plishka, 2008)

 I found two different trails, probably made on different days.  All trails, the fresh one on top and the frozen ones below, all led to the open water.  This explains why, even with open water, there were no longer any waterfowl on the lake.

As there is no cover for the bird along the ice, a coyote could, with favorable winds, (and winds from the north which is what we’ve been getting) sneak up on sleeping waterfowl. 

How this guy ended up gimpy and not totally lifting one foot, we may never know.  I do know that before I skate, others have “skated” before me…

My 69x61 ft rink three quarters done. Notice water/ice edge that footprints led to.

My 69x61 ft rink three quarters done. Notice water/ice edge that footprints led to.

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 I’m not sure exactly when it happened. It was like walking back into a symphony after intermission and the orchestra was gone, the musicians had left and no one was around to tell me the concert had finished.


But there were no instruments save the wind that snapped my jacket open. I wrapped the jacket around myself and held it closed with crossed arms…still listening for the harmonies of crickets and katydids.




An owl’s rhythmic “who…who, whoo” played on wind’s wings so it almost was imperceptible. Above, a faint blue smudge on black sky – the Andromeda Galaxy.


There was no flickering of lights during the intermission, no nudges to return to the performance. Spring and Summer Symphony had left the stage for Fall’s soliloquy – a lonesome phantom unaccompanied by insect voices.


I stood hoping that perhaps I could hear one last voice, one lone, brave soul in this windy tempest – no one.


Cheated, slighted.


No, hurried and harried – I missed hearing the last note. Five months loom before new insect voices will audition to exploding greenery. How could I?


I went back inside and took my jacket off and looked in the mirror. I noticed a gray hair on my scalp. It was as long as the others and had apparently been there growing right alongside the brown. I missed its journey as well. Perhaps for the better; I may have truncated its life had I seen it earlier.


That which I wanted I missed, and that which I missed I no longer wanted…

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