Tag Archives: Trail

Good-Bye November


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Though the temperatures are mild and there isn’t a trace of snow left on the ground, it won’t be long untilĀ  winter is here. Tomorrow is the first of December.

Today is a little bit of a celebration for me.

This is the first full day I’ve been able to be at home, since I left the island twelve days ago. I had a long list that I’ve been plugging away at, but it has still felt good just to be here. I woke up without the alarm. I balanced my checkbook, paid bills and went through my big stack of mail. I did a little bit of laundry. I picked up all the fallen branches in the yard. Rosa Parks and I took a long walk.

This, being the last day of November, is the last day of my daily blogging commitment this year. It’s been fun. It’s been challenging. There were a couple days when I just gave a quick run-down of activities, “here I am…that’s all you get,” and a few days that were my usual “list-of-complaints-and-things-to-do” blogs. One night I didn’t actually finish writing until after midnight, so I technically missed one day. Most of the month, though, I feel like I pushed myself to improve…and did. I count it as an almost complete success.

What next? I’ll continue to write, of course, though I won’t try to post a blog every day. There are plenty of other areas in my life that could use a devoted commitment!

Struggling over computer issues today, I was so frustrated I couldn’t stand it any more. I put the bright pink harness and a leash on Rosa Parks, threw on sweats and a warm jacket, and headed out the door.

We have been pretty slack in our walks for a while now. First Clover went lame; she couldn’t walk, and I couldn’t bear to go without her. When she died, it seemed like all the fun went out of a walk for Rosa Parks. Then summer came, with mosquitoes enough to keep us off the trails…before I knew it, we had completely lost the habit. Lately, a walk around the yard each morning was the most we managed.

Until today.

Rosa had to be coaxed along…she’s a stubborn little dog…but once we got to Cotter’s trail, she became more interested in the sights and smells. We surprised some partridge…and they surprised us, with their loud flurry of wings. There were two deer grazing in the field of clover behind Bob Hoopfer’s pole barns; they looked up as we walked past, but didn’t bolt. We made note of the new addition to the old cabin in the woods, and then retraced our path home.

Not quite one hour out in the fresh air, but it did me a world of good. It was good exercise for my little dog, too. For the month of December, I’m going to walk every day. Right now, heady with the success of my writing commitment, is a good time to start another. I’m hoping that by the time the new year rolls around, it will be a fully formed habit.

After that, who knows!






On the Edge of a New Season



We took our walk yesterday – the dogs and I – off the road and through the woods to the east on trails that have been impassible since December, clogged with deep snow.

Some winters the temperatures drop and stay cold long enough to let a hard crust form on the deep snow. Then, I can walk far into the woods, to places I’d never dare venture without my footprints to guide me home.

Not this year.

We got plenty of snow this Winter, here on Beaver Island. We had cold, too, of course…but not extreme temperatures for days on end. The snow stayed soft, often slushy. Sometimes the little dog would run gleefully across the surface, chasing some scent or another, teasing me by refusing to come when I called. The bigger dog would usually break through, and find herself in snow too dense to walk in. Me, too.

Certainly it’s a workout, trudging through deep snow, but it’s not the type of exercise I want. It’s hard on the joints, and travel is too difficult to go any great distance. I prefer an easier walk at a better pace, where I can enjoy the fresh air and the antics of the dogs, and not be too exhausted to do anything else when I’m done.

The snow is melting, though.

There are pools and puddles where the snow has turned to liquid faster than the earth can absorb it. There are huge swaths of bare ground. In fact, I carried my camera in order to document the last of this winter’s snow.

It may have been a bit early; the forecast is now calling for more of it this weekend.

Still, it was a nice walk through an area I haven’t seen for a few months.

We took the trail that runs parallel to my house, back through the woods on the old logging road to the little hunting camp. There’s a pond behind the cabin, where a pair of Sandhill Cranes spend their Summer. I was anxious to see if they’d arrived yet this Spring. In the Fall, the course grass grows so tall and densely around the pond, it’s not possible to get close to the water. Summer, the mosquitoes keep me out of this area most days.

Spring is the time for this walk.

The pond is still covered mostly with ice. There is still snow in the woods. I did not see the birds that I was looking for.

Yet…the trees have buds at the ends of their branches that will soon open into leaves.

Two robins kept me entertained as they hopped around the yard.

Squirrels chattered and dashed around from tree to tree, keeping the dogs busy with chasing games.

And…near the pond, I’m sure I heard the frogs!

Whatever the forecast brings this weekend, Spring is close upon us here!

New Paths



I’m awake before dawn this winter morning, the first day of February, with too many thoughts to sleep through.

A couple inches of new snow fell here on Beaver Island, the night before last.

We’d had a warm day, a little melting and considerable wind before that.

The path I followed down Cotter’s Trail, created by tramping through the snow twice a day, had been obliterated.

No deeply patterned tracks from my winter boots.

No paw prints, large or small, in the fresh snow.

There were no traces of rabbit or deer or coyote.

No patterns showing the route snowmobiles took.

Just pure white, unblemished snow all the way.


A little intimidating, too.

I thought of the distance between footfalls, the curve of the new path we were creating and whether my tracks looked as if I were walking “pigeon-toed”. It seemed like a lot of responsibility, being the first one down the trail.

I feel that I’m making new paths in my life, as well.

That has happened before, off and on over the years.

I like to think of myself as a fairly steady person.

I don’t jump in and out of relationships. Friendships are forged for a lifetime. I’m pretty steadfast in whatever job I am doing.

It doesn’t feel like I’m digging a hole, just traveling the same path each day, until change is upon me.

Whether the need for change comes from outside forces or from within, it comes with a whole host of varied emotion.

There is the realization that I have, in fact, dug a little rut by following the same route for so long. It takes a little extra effort to veer from the path.

There is exhilaration, excitement, that adrenalin flow of new adventure and new possibilities.

Finally, there is anxiety.

Whether it’s an untouched canvas, a different job, a new friend or an unblemished snow-scape, I want the marks I make to be good ones.

That’s why I’m up before the sun this morning.