At last, the listless woodland stream, spent by months of summer drought, fanned into a shallow lake, barely murmuring as it merged. At first glance, it seemed almost unremarkable. Almost. But here and there, flickers of movement stirred across the gravel it had scoured from the shore where it lost itself in lake waters. The very stones themselves seemed waking and winking, as it were, into the autumn sun, restless in their eternal torpor. Curious, I drew nearer. Continue Reading
All posts tagged Nature
One must wonder whether wildlings appreciate the grandeur of their surroundings, apart from their innate connection to their world. This grouse and another hen were foraging amongst the autumn foliage shortly before sunset ignited the mountainside’s already smoldering hues, as seen in the photo below a short while later. Did she pause for a moment of wonder at day’s last flourish, as did I? Life in the wild isn’t easy. For the creatures who inhabit them, scenes like these are sandwiched between the much more frequent paroxysms of the elements, the predators lurking where least expected, the seasons of scarcity, and the burdens of parenthood. (Grouse can lay up to fifteen eggs at a time!) Do the rigors of life render these fleeting moments the sweeter, even for a grouse, or wholly irrelevant? Whichever it may be, that there are creatures in a world where the sublime is as true a fact as the toilsome is somehow comforting. Continue Reading
Perhaps I should have felt apprehension as these vultures swept about me, circling, dipping into the valley below, then swooping upward again, near enough that dark shadows crossed my path and I could hear the whoosh of feathers as they banked overhead. But no, I thrilled at this unexpected meeting of their world with mine; after all, Continue Reading
Good day to you, good day, Gray Jay!
What do you, can you say today?
Not like your cousins, not at all,
who shriek and scold and fairly brawl;
not like you, no, to chatter so,
like Blue Jay, Green Jay, Brown Jay — no!
But circling heedlessly — it seems —
you scorn their noisy, plotting schemes
and flitting sprightly to and fro,
and twitt’ring slightly as you go,
with no more word, no “May I, please?”
Slowly, a young blacktail buck works his way along the coastal verge, nibbling the tender shoots that spring into light where weathered spruce gives way to ribbons of dunegrass. Still lithe in body and bearing, he is likely in his second year, as suggested by his unbranched antlers. He leads a harsh and likely short life — predators abound here, too, and unforgiving seas lash the retreating coast with frequent storms. His lot matters not to him, for it is the only life he knows. In his time, he lives unbidden by any and beholden to none but the sage old instincts honed through countless generations of his kind. Like many creatures in national parks, he is accustomed to humans, yet not tame. Near, and yet apart. Here, he is an equal, much like his and human ancestors were when all dwelt amid the teeming wilds, before some humans sought to subdue the world and all therein. He pays me no heed, but would surely bolt if I drew nearer. In these few moments, we are merely fellow beings on briefly parallel paths. Then he slips into the forest fringe and is gone. Be well, O wild one!
© 2020 Anthony Colburn