Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Herons and Rosehips

I've been getting a little exercise in the evenings. There's no good excuse, here in Davis. Living on the side of a hill, as I did in Berkeley, made any evening stroll a good way to wear down my elbow joints. But it's flat here, and there are bike paths that wind all through my neighborhood. I couldn't ask for a more pleasant way to get out of the house.

There's a perfect time to do it, too, just after supper, when the heat of the day is chased away, but the sun is still glowing enough orange that I can still see the birds and the trees clearly. This is when the birds are active, and I love to watch them fly and sing, even if I don't recognize them. Just like I don't know any of the trees and bushes. All I know is that there's that one bird with red in the front, and another brown one with black stripes. And I see them sitting in the cedar-like shrub, or that tree with the purple flowers.

It's nothing like spending summers at camp in northwestern Ontario. Out there I knew how many families of Grebes lived in the bay behind my cabin, by the way they called to each other. There I could play tag with the loons, paddling alone in the early morning when the lake was like glass. The loon would dive as I approached, come to the surface a dozen or so canoe lengths ahead of me, and tilt it's head back to see me. And then dive when I got close again. I remember finding a Great Blue Heron slowly pacing the back dock, him fishing, shooting his long bill through the surface of the clear water, me motionless, in still time. I knew all the trees, the birch from the poplar and the cedar from the pine. I made rose-hip tea from the bush outside my cabin door. I felt at home there. I belonged there.

Still getting to know this new place, I got out the Davis Bike map after supper tonight, just to see if there was any paths nearby that I've been missing. I thought I knew all the trails nearby the duplex pretty well, but I found one that I didn't recognize. I must have passed it a dozen times, without ever seeing it for what it was. I thought it was just part of a short loop that would bring me back to where I'd already been.

But this path didn't turn back on itself. It went straight to a part of the neighborhood I've never seen before. I was pleased to find West Pond there. It's a wildlife sanctuary. But I didn't really care to find a wildlife sanctuary. Instead, I was surprised to find some joy and happiness.

The joy came from finding rosehips by the path. There were grebes in the pond. And the sign said that Great Blue Herons will spend the winter here. I felt some happiness because I found that even here, this far away from northwestern Ontario, there are creatures I know. It's like running into old friends far away from home.

I might not feel at ease here in Davis yet, but I am glad to find that there might be a little bit of home here with me.



Blogger Ruth said...

Lovely my friend.

Thursday, July 28, 2005 1:10:00 PM  

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