Spring high

Within just a week, the snow I thought might never leave has melted away. Rain and above-freezing temperatures and longer days of sunlight conspired to end the tyranny of the ice.

Our lawn and gardens are now mostly revealed, in all their brownish glory. The mountain of snow on our deck that threatened to touch the porch roof is now just an icy hump, doomed to disappear by the weekend. Small patches of snow still lie slack in the crevices and corners, but they’re living on borrowed time.

So where did it all that until-lately-bound-up water go? Into the ground, downhill, and down to the river that runs in the valley just below our house.

Last night we heard the waterfall in the river rushing furiously. This morning… silence. They had closed the dam.

Gryfe and I went to investigate today.

Here’s the spot where the waterfall ought to be:

Where the waterfall was

And the trees that are normally on the river bank, along the trail:

High waters

And the trail on the way down to the dam:

End of the trail

where Gryfe decided to take a little swim:

Wading on the trail

And see that little trail to the right of the bridge, leading down to the water? That’s normally the beach where we like to play in the summer. Check out those waves!

Bridge and beach

That’s the way I like my snow: melted, and rushing to the sea.

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.