This winter has been one of fog and mist. What exactly is the difference between the two? You could spend a good deal of time reading up on this, and there are distinct international rules, mainly for global aviation safety. The distinction boils down to how far you can see, for example, in fog you can’t see further than a kilometer. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, because I have been seeing so much fog and mist. I’m not sure when I’m in mist or when I’m in fog, and I’m pretty sure it doesn’t really matter in my situation.
A good percentage of my daily walks find me near or alongside the Hudson River. I live only a few minutes from the river, so it’s not hard to do. Luckily we have several preserves that make this easy. While walking yesterday in the damp gloom of another rainy morning, I felt actually quite at home. My coat kept me warm and dry, my hands deep in my pockets, a snug hat around my head with a hood for good measure. Just the physical nature of walking made me feel comfortable, as I let myself wander on the familiar paths thus letting my mind wander to where it wanted to go, without worrying about where it was going. This comfortable feeling is one of knowing that there is no other place I want to be. As I walk in the woods I never think: oh, I wish I wasn’t here. Walking is such an escape, but I never feel like I’m walking from something, or truly, walking to something, just that I am walking. It’s perfectly present tense.
While I walked, I chanced upon some juvenile eagles. Did you know it takes them about four years to change into their adult plumage? The ones I saw (and have been seeing) were mainly brown and mottled with white, the beak still brown. I’m guessing second year plumage? Their eyes go from brown to gold and their beaks from brown to yellow. It’s pretty stunning. As big as these eagles are, they leave as soon as they hear me. Instead, a little titmouse perched on a very close branch and scolded me thoroughly.
I am both terrified and fascinated by the idea of mountain lions in the area. Needless to say, I’ve been obsessed with this local story. (They locked that story to paid subscribers, probably because it was so popular. This article, though light on content, has the picture in question.) So local that it’s right next to where I often walk for miles, alone. I’m never afraid of anything in the woods, aside from other humans, but a mountain lion would be something I’d be scared of. I talked to a lot of neighbors who know the person who took the cam photo and verify that it’s the truth. Could it be?
Ever since I read The American Woodland Garden, I have been slowly plotting how to redesign a part of my property that I’ve since neglected. I am currently enjoying The Wild Garden, updated by Rick Darke, and The Living Landscape by Rick Darke and Doug Tallamy. Such good reading (and distraction) for this weird rainy winter we are having.