We had a couple of very cold days, and it seems now to have bounced back to seasonal temperatures. I don’t think I was quite ready for real winter, so I’m feeling a bit of relief. I am, however, ready to hibernate. What I like best about winter is that quiet time to sift through everything from the past year. What was it all about? I’m sort of a slow creature, and it takes me a while to figure things out. Life is intricate and strange, don’t you agree? What’s it all about, Alfie? It’s like your very own story.
Winter walks offer a lot of time to sift and reminisce. They are also filled with their own subtle stories. Yesterday, I was walking to a favorite pond and there was a blaring white spot on the far shore. Squinting, because I have horrible eyesight, I realized it was a bucket. People like to fish here. I had to scramble over a narrow little cliffside catwalk to get to this spot, and I can understand why someone would take the time to sit out here and fish. It was a perfect little outcropping with a view of the whole pond. Sadly, they left a bucket and a few stamped out cigarette butts. I picked up the butts and the bucket and carried them out. What was their story?
As I walked back, I noted that the moss is still very green, and I found this patch that was like a big green cat curled up on a rock. I thought that might make a nice story, a mossy cat that lives in the forest. Then I passed by this huge hemlock covered with lichens and moss. It had the most perfect doorway, hollowed out inside, with a nice neat dirt floor and what looked like a tunnel going into the ground. It was even lined with stones as if it were a pathway for a house, and suddenly, I could see the mossy cat sweeping the stones in anticipation for guests to arrive. “Welcome to my story,” said the cat.
I just finished reading The Klamath Knot by David Rains Wallace. I hadn’t heard of Wallace until I chanced upon this article he wrote long ago. Though it isn’t a huge book, it still took me a while to get through, and I am still chewing on its themes of evolution and natural science in the wild landscape of the Klamath Mountains. I want to go back and read the last chapter. It’s still sort of reverberating! What are your favorite nature writing books? Any recommendations?