“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.” John Muir
It has been sub zero temperatures for two days, a few inches of fluffy light snow fell overnight on Friday, the first significant snowfall of the season. I made soup and a pie and the pirate and I had dinner Saturday and then spent the day indoors on Sunday, it was too cold to spend much time outside, the kind of day where your nostrils freeze. He poured water into a cold dish in the garage to give to the dog and it had ice in it again immediately. Today I had planned to go hiking, since the weather had warmed up to close to not being frozen anymore, but a chill wind was blowing. I got to Clark in the afternoon, but realized in the melee of a large dog off leash as I was loading up the dog, I had dropped my wallet, so I returned to the house and was relieved to find it still in the driveway. I picked it up and on the way back to the park the pirate called me and we went up instead to the 1812 monument on the top of Onondaga hill. There is a small iron fence enclosing two very old graves. The rumor is there are paths up the there so we wandered around along the icy creek that was flowing strongly. The bed of the stream is surrounded with high conglomerate rock and open wedges deep into the walls of the gully. Rivulets flow downward into the deep cut gorge, and we crossed over several as we bushwhacked down. He broke off a large stick for himself since the walk was steep. After a couple minutes he broke one off for me too, smiling at me as he handed it to me. We found a spot where he and the dog both wanted to cross, he cracked the ice like a creme brulee with his stick, testing its strength and trying to make a solid safe path. He made it about halfway. It was deep and perhaps passable, but with no clear path, we decided to head back. I loved how the dog would herd, running to me and then back to the pirate and back to me as we took parallel paths through the trees. Once we got near the memorial we noticed a clear area that looked like a path along the top ridge on the other side. We made our way around noticing a bridge, and definitely a pathway. We circled around though the air was turning colder, the wind chillier and the sky grey. I was hot and unzipped my wool sweater and down vest, but left my hat on because my ears were getting cold in the wind, my hands were sweating in my mittens. Along the path was a large stand of tall pines, it drew me in like a magnet, it looked so pretty and peaceful with split rail fences along the edge. The pirate followed behind and when we got there we noticed the snow was pretty torn up and then I saw a melted oval in the snow underneath the thick branches of the pines, and then we counted at least 8 more deer beds there in the sheltered area. Further along the path there was lots of dug up snow and I thought the deer were looking for acorns since there were many oak leaves scattered in the snow. We stood as twilight was nearing, and quietly waited in hopes of seeing a deer. I realized how meditative hunting must be, as we stood quiet, looking and listening. His handsome grin and sparkling eyes looking at me and our occasional whispering back and forth, the dog sat at my feet and listened too. It felt good to get fresh air. The friendship I feel for the pirate is made more solid by these stomps in the woods. He is as comfortable in them as I am, sometimes more, and maybe sometimes less. Our banter back and forth, his teasing, wit and charm an easy match for me, he takes it just as well as he gives it. Later I tell him, we are good for each other. He puts his arm over my shoulder and we walk together briefly, I love you so much, I say, but when I say it, it is as though to a dear friend, to a member of my family. The truth is he has found his way into my heart, and despite my self protective nature these days, I find it hard to imagine him not being there.