Ahoy! Some cold weather! Welcome back winter, we've missed you.
I saw a fisher yesterday... at college camp here up past the top of campus. It isn't very common seeing them, I've heard. He trotted across the dirt road in front of me, paused briefly once he had done so and then disappeared into the brush, never to be seen again. My camera was sitting beside me, but rather than reach for it, I decided to watch the animal with my eyes. I'm now left with a memory, not a photograph.
I really do wonder just how that fisher and I crossed paths. What made a highly elusive animal like himself and my noisy little pickup truck meet at that exact moment? The school owns 276 acres of forest up there; relatively untouched. If meeting on the same acre was a rare occurrence, how about the same dirt road?
Nevertheless, be thankful for the ways things work out. And sometimes, maybe it's worth leaving the camera home.
A recent slide in the category of decent photographs has kept me more or less unmotivated to get out. That and some ongoing personal issues that I can't seem to kick. Well, this morning I forced myself out of the room and onto the trail - both doubtful and optimistic.
As you can probably tell from this photo, it was successful. The Oneonta-Susquehanna Greenway Trail (aka, my go-to trail) was popping with yellow-rumped warblers. This is a bird that I rarely get good photo opportunities with, despite their seemingly boundless presence in the spring and fall. I got lucky with more than a few birds, as they acted super curiously around me. A small gathering of dogwoods provided them and a few other species with a nice hangout.
Following the passing of two women and their three dogs, the birds along with myself had moved on. The cold air and bright sun felt great today - the warblers would probably agree. Cold air has been hard to come by this October. This is somewhat depressing for a nature-enthusiast like myself. We rely on the cold, the changing color of the leaves and the birds moving south when they are supposed to, as this opens the door for new things. Right now, behind that door waits winter.
There is some good news, as this week our first push of golden eagles came through at Franklin Mountain Hawk Watch. I tallied three on Thursday; our total now just around a dozen. Red-tailed hawks are beginning to move in numbers, along with sharpies and falcons which should be peaking soon. Two weeks ago I tallied over thirty sharpies and over twenty falcons - American kestrel, merlin, and peregrine - which was delightful! Along with them, our first rough-legged hawk of the season, which is somewhat uncommon for October.
Changing pace; the breathtaking Oneonta night sky has been shining this week. Clear skies and the the new moon allowed for some great stargazing - something that never disappoints. It is always so humbling to lose your thoughts in the stars. Our galaxy has a way of reminding us just how small we are. It is a cure for fear, anxiety and all other worry. Compare it, and our day to day problems are nothing but hiccups. Everyone comes to a bump in the road at some point; now I think I'm getting to mine. Maybe the stars will help me through it.
I think I'll take this morning's walk and run with it (no pun intended). Nature is the cure for everything, right?
Always a true reminder of just how small we are....
I'm really not one to write about myself, but sometimes you just have to put it down somewhere. I've been doing a lot of reading lately. Most of it from the early environmentalists; Thoreau; Muir; Beston. It's really helped me find new perspectives on things I've never thought twice about. I've always had such a deep love for the outdoors, ever since a young age, but I am just finally learning how to put it into words. Now more than ever I feel the need to explore. To get lost. To find some place new. A place away from all the madness that goes on every day in the news, or at school. Away from all the pointless bullshit that somehow finds you no matter how positive of a person you are. I am learning to appreciate every second of time I get to spend outside, and looking twice as hard at all of the things I run into. I am reflecting on all of the incredible sights I have seen over the last few years, and constantly looking forward to more. I know that not a minute is wasted outside, and not a single memory fades once you leave. These places will always be there if you need to clear your mind, and they will always inspire you to dig deeper. They have taught me not to exist, but to thrive as I do it. Most importantly, they have given me something to hold on to. There will never be a day when I am not itching to take a walk into the woods, or a journey up a mountain, or a wade into the water. Where the mountains meet the stars, where the oceans meet the sky, and where all that is wild exists in a place so far removed from humanity, you'll find me.
And I hope some day that it will be me writing one of these books; inspiring another young kid to find that passion somewhere, and chase it. But until then, I'll be chasing mine.