Watch your step

Nest and mitten

When I walk, I tend to watch the path. I have a history of tripping and twisting my ankles and I worry about a misstep and the resulting pain. I’ve been known to trip on sidewalks. (This morning I tripped on the kitchen floor.)

Sometimes I’m so busy watching where I place my feet and thinking my walking thoughts that I miss seeing the things happening around me: shivery views of sunlight on the river, a deer family grazing in the tall summer grass, a hawk swooping down to pluck a vole from the meadow.

(Knowing me, I probably also miss black bear mamas tossing their cubs playfully in the air; wise old owl (mortar boarded) teaching algebra to his squirrel and chipmunk pupils; and unicorns galloping across that same summer field, in a blaze of glitter. But I digress.)

I remind myself to look up. Watch the world! Pay attention! Be aware! But, after awhile, I drift back to meditating the space between my feet and the trail in front of them. Sometimes, though, looking down brings you surprises you miss when you’re busy looking around.

All of which is to say: Yesterday, on my walk with the dog, I was staring at the slushy trail, when I saw an interesting object inside a perfectly cupped depression beside a melting ski track. An upside down nest.

Nest exterior

It had been buried under the snow for weeks, maybe more, and was only revealed yesterday because of the week’s melting. The snow is falling today. The nest would be hidden again. A reward for my tunnel vision.

Another benefit to watching the trail as you walk? When you finally do look up, you get to see that amazing optical illusion where the clouds seem to streak backward across the sky.

Do you see what I see?

It’s the last day of March.

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The snow has really started to melt recently. The entire driveway is snow and ice free. The goat pen gate swings freely in both directions. The septic tank advertises its location by revealing a perfectly shaped, snow-free rectangle in the middle of the lawn. The sun is up when I go to milk in the morning, and it’s still up after dinner at night.

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Of course, a nor’easter is winging its way here as I type, and snow will start to fall this afternoon or evening, and some reports say we’re due to get 9 – 18 inches of that heavy, wet, tree-limb and power-line downing snow by tomorrow night. Some April Fool.

No matter. I have proof there’s reason for hope.

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