Ten years ago…walking in winter with Deb, through the secret beauty of a poplar stand. Dead fall. Gray leafless trees give way to a redemption of blue, coming through, striking our foreheads.
White bark of birch holds the light with cupped hands. The sun, half-eyed and sleepy, never rises far above the tops of trees.
Glory Lake opens up and on the far side, on a rock, I see the outline of a man kneeling, perhaps making a fire. He remains motionless. His edges blur in spotty sunshine.
Feigning anger from two cruel bites in the summer, Deb knocks down an empty wasp’s nest, and looks for others. She encourages me to shake a newly discovered nest out of a tree. I decline, summer seems too far away and wasps remain a mystery.
We see the hawks nest and remember the fledglings of the past spring. We calculate our observation point and determine to come back next spring, binoculars in hand, to again catch a glimpse of downy heads.
A grouse startles us as we begin our homeward walk. We say nothing, we are silent and grateful. We find freedom in each other, we are each others atmosphere.
We discuss the difference between moose and deer droppings and the interconnectedness of all things startles me. I wonder if it’s silly to be startled so, especially regarding droppings.
But I’m still galvanized by the grouse and that burst of wind and drumming air and the small explosion of dry leaves and brittle twigs. And just like that, a small explosion has gone off in my head. A kind of joy.