Antidotal

Yesterday’s weather was mild—not as warm as Monday, which was brilliant and blue-skied—but mild enough that a long walk was in order. I don’t take these mild days for granted, though we soon may be able to. There is wintry mix predicted for tomorrow; this is what we get these days, that old friend wintry mix. It’s mainly freezing rain and slush, but you may see a few snow flurries. We’ve only gotten two decent snowfalls this year. But then, winter is not over yet. I kept on thinking: what if we don’t get winter anymore? I am guessing many might say that’s already the case.

I walked a familiar walk but took different paths in different directions. The bleak winter landscape makes us search for novelty, and as I walked my hungry senses picked up anything of note. Like the ice formations under the leaf litter that made for uneven walking on the trails. Or an incredible wall of rock that when you stand right in front of it makes you feel like you could be somewhere far away. The peach rock in places turns to green with a faint mist of lichen. From a distance of twenty feet it looked majestic, like a door way. I walked in and stood close to the rock, and it felt entirely different. The difference between looking from a distance and the feeling of closeness was palpable; both ways of sensing appreciated. Does that make sense? I’m not sure I’m describing it well.

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As I walked through a soft, leaf-lined ravine, I stumbled upon a tragedy: a pile of feathers from what I guessed to be a woodpecker of some sort. My first guess was downy, but then a quick search on this site, The Feather Atlas, made me question my guess. I haven’t figured it out yet, (maybe yellow-bellied sapsucker?) but just look at all those woodpecker feathers, would you? They are so beautiful. I think I’ll be spending more time on this site.

After finding those beautiful and sad feathers, I came upon an orange peel fungus. I haven’t found any fresh fungi in a while, so it was quite a pleasant surprise. I have a special fondness for this one—so bright and cheerful, and who can resist the common name? Just one lone specimen, enough to make this walk, a little brighter. Simple things are always the answer.

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