Tag Archives: walks

New Paths

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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.

Beautiful!

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.

Snow Day

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We have about five inches of fluffy new snow here on Beaver Island.

I had the day off.

With two bits of business writing I was determined to get done, a new exercise routine planned,  several things underway in the studio, and a living space that could use a serious once-over…procrastination was the order of the day.

The sun was shining.

Yesterday’s winds had calmed.

The dogs were in perfect agreement.

Morning, just after coffee, I bundled up and headed out.

Down the driveway to the Fox Lake Road and a short jaunt over to Cotter’s Trail. We followed the trail about halfway in, then took the drive that leads past two pole barns and into the wide path through the woods back to the Murray’s summer home. Usually from there I’d go up the driveway to the road, and home from there. That’s about a 45 minute walk.

Today, we circled the yard, walked past the pond and re-traced our steps back through the woods. Back at the Cotter’s Trail, we veered to the right. We continued down the trail past Crazy Larry’s old campsite, past the deer-camp sign, Tom Mann’s little shelter and the cabin that used to be Cotter’s (and so will always be known as Cotter’s, though the ownership changed nearly thirty years ago). We continued into the woods toward the West Side Drive.

The dogs were willing to continue our adventure, but my legs were burning from the long walk in deep snow. I made my turn before we came out into the clearing, and we headed back home.

By the time I was ready for our afternoon walk, the snow mobile riders had been out. Their runners firm and pack the snow, leaving a nice path. They had followed the power lines that run parallel to Fox Lake Road. That’s the way we walked. First south, through the meadow and up to where the road makes a sharp turn, then north, past my house and on to where the power lines cross the road, and home from there.

I still have my long list of things I should have done today.

There’s still time.

It was a great day to be out in the snow!

Daylight Savings Time Changeover Day Blues

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Good Morning!

It’s not really morning anymore.

I’ve already been outside walking in the woods with my dogs today.

I’ve had my morning coffee.

I’ve returned three telephone calls from messages left on my answering machine.

I’m watching the clock, counting time before I have to get ready to go to work.

Today was the day I could set the clocks back, for Daylight Savings Time.

One extra hour!

I saved the act of re-setting clocks for morning, so it would seem like a bonus.

One extra hour to drink coffee or write or read or lounge in a bubble bath!

One extra hour to catch up on the dozens of tasks there are not time for in a normal day!

One extra hour of golden time!

I slept through it.

Simple as that, I slept through it.

For years, I teased my friend, Diane, about her tardiness. She was late for everything, to the extreme. She is famous for it, still, here on Beaver Island. Everyone has a “Diane was so late…” story. She always said she’d be late for her own funeral. In fact, for that, she was too early, in my mind.

In the last several years, I found myself developing Diane’s habit myself, of being less than punctual. I was getting pretty lackadaisical about it, too. After all, we live on an island where bumper stickers say, “Slow Down…this ain’t the Mainland!” and “There is no LATE on Beaver Island!”. We talk about the slower pace and more relaxed schedules of “island time”. Then, my aunt gave me a pretty stern lecture about the inconsideration of tardiness. I took it to heart. I set my clocks ahead.

I allow myself to be fooled by whatever the clock says.

Enforced gullibility.

It helps that each clock says something different, so I’m not sure which one to trust.

So, this morning, I started the coffee brewing, and went room to room.

The little, old-fashioned dial clock in the bathroom, back one hour. Still twenty minutes fast, so I won’t linger too long in the bathtub, or take too much time tweezing things or trying to do something creative with my hair.

The digital clock in the CD player on the bookshelf in the living room, back one hour, still ten minutes fast.

The small, battery-operated alarm clock in the bedroom, back one hour, twenty-five minutes fast. To allow for me to hit the “snooze” button at least twice, and still be pleasantly surprised by the earliness of the hour when I make it to the next clock.

The large, schoolhouse clock in the kitchen, back one hour, fifteen minutes fast. This clock loses time pretty regularly, so I have to keep my eye on it. Sometimes I set it a little extra-fast, to compensate.

The little clock on the oven and the watch I wear on my wrist, I set back one hour to the correct time. I need to be, at some point, in touch with real time. I can’t actually read either of these dials without my glasses.

By that time, the coffee was finished.

I poured a cup.

Last week, I took a phone call from a friend before my coffee had finished brewing. We ended up in a discussion that had no business happening, and that left us both feeling bitter.

Now, I don’t answer the phone until I’m ready to talk.

I usually sit at the computer checking my e-mail account while drinking my first cup of coffee. The dogs can go out at this time, but they can’t go in and out, in and out, and they can’t beg for treats, or bother me for their morning walk.

I have enjoyed thinking that they understand when I say, “First cup of coffee!”

Turns out, they don’t.

It turns out, my dogs cannot tell time, either, and don’t care one bit about Daylight Savings Time.

No matter how diligently I set every clock back one hour, when I overslept this morning, I got up just in time for their walk, and they weren’t about to have it any other way.

Now, my bonus hour is gone.

My Dreary Day

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This is my life on Beaver Island, as illustrated by my seven year old grandson, Brandon.

There’s my little house, and car, the grape arbor (Brandon used to call it the “Gray Barber”) with a child inside, the big maple tree with two swings and two rope swings hanging from its branches…it’s all here.

In the background, then, you can see the Beaver Island ferry, filled with smiling and waving passengers. In the sky above is the Island airplane (note the shamrocks on the wings) also filled with grinning passengers.

It is being escorted in by an Army plane, that is dropping some pretty scary fire bombs all over the landscape. What?!

Well, perhaps to a seven year old boy, that element of dangerous excitement is the only thing this island is missing…so he put it in. A little bit of fiery wings on our island plane would make for a more thrilling ride, I guess.

Brandon is older now. Though he continues to amaze me with his artwork, this drawing perfectly suited my mood yesterday.

I woke up with a feeling of dread and depression that could neither be explained nor wished away. I had lots to do, and I kept plugging away at my list, but felt that I was fighting my way through thick sludge…waiting for the bombs to drop. I once heard depression described as a feeling of being covered with a heavy, wet wool blanket; that person knows depression. It covers you over…it is not a choice. There’s always the fear that it won’t go away.

Of course, I know all the things to do. Get out in the fresh air, get exercise. Don’t dwell on it. Keep working at everyday activities. Keep a list of accomplishments; keep marking things off the list as they are completed. Go easy.

So, I took long walks with the dogs, morning and evening. I spent several hours in fairly mindless but worthwhile activity in the garden, and several more hours in the studio. I did not vacuum the rugs, do my exercise video or write. I ate only leftovers. I went to bed early.

Today, the sun is shining here on Beaver Island. We got a rain shower overnight, and everything looks fresh. My clouds have lifted, too.

On to another day!