It seems late in the summer for baby animals to still be small and babyish. Maybe because it has been such a wet and cold summer animals have not matured as fast as they should, who knows. But on the way back to the base with the van loaded with camping gear and the canoe trailer over loaded with boats, we saw a plethora of baby animals. We found ducklings and goslings paddling furiously behind their mothers in the swampy wetland areas as we were stopped in traffic. We slowed to a crawl as several grown turkeys crossed the road ahead of us and were followed by a dozen or more baby turkeys jumbling and bumbling as the entered the tall grass on the other side. A mother deer ran down the road side with a small spotted fawn bouncing on her heels, then they too disappeared into the overgrowth on the side of the road. Today must be a good day to be a wild baby animal!
Hammock is hung from the perfect trees, with a perfect view of the lake, bug net is hung around the hammock for perfect protection against the malicious buzzing mosquitoes and vicious no-see-ums. Darkness has fallen peacefully, slowly blanketing the forest and water with a warm, humid, velvety purple haze, starts are dazzling in the clear night sky. I have bathed in the cool lake water one last time before climbing into my hammock bed. I am ever so slightly rocking, drifting off into the fantastical neverland of dreams when from the gentle darkness comes the sounds of loons. They aren’t just plaintively calling in that lonely tone, but gregariously happily babbling to one another. It’s a loon party out there on the lake tonight! Apparently the Whip-Poor-Wills and Barred Owls were invited too. I listen for over an hour as they chorus together in a summer night time extravaganza!
Early morning half light filtering through the trees, birds singing their praises to the rising sun. Water drips from the wet leaves onto wet earth from last night’s gentle rain. Damp cool morning air washes over my bare arms, groggily I roll over and peer through the tent screen out into the wakening green world. I notice a spiderweb up in the corner of where the tarp meets the pole holding it up. Large and perfectly formed, ghost colored gossamer silken strands, painstakingly spun out into embedded concentric geometric patterns. Its small light brown and gold occupant waiting patiently in the center, all her delicate legs folded daintily beneath her abdomen. I can see tiny glistening dew drops have formed all over the web giving it an ethereal quality, other worldly, and strikingly beautiful.
I wake to the startling sound of something crashing through the jumbled dead leaves and detritus on the forest floor, I open my sleepy eyes to early morning mist with water drooping from the trees. Groggily I think “that was something big”, so I sit up to see out into the blue morning dusk. Ten feet away is a mythical moose! This is the first time I have every seen a moose, so I have been calling them, mythical for many years. He is a young male with tiny antlers just appearing, thin, muscular, and all legs. He stands taller than me, but I believe he is small for a full grown moose. He is twitchy and nervous, he knows I am there, but isn’t sure what to make of me. I watch transfixed, mesmerized, excited, all sleep immediately gone from my fascinated brain. I watch him for many long minutes, hardly daring to breath. He eventually calms when no immediate danger presents itself, and he walk a little away, turns to look at me through the tent screen, takes a few more steps. He is silhouetted in a small clearing, his dark shape outlined by a brighter area of forest. After a few more steps, he has passed out of sight in the misty blue half light of predawn. I have seen a moose! Later when I actually get up, there are moose prints next to the tent platform where he was walking under the tarp when he startled and jumped into the dead leaves that woke me up. How many times has he passed this way before?
My husband and I took a one night get away out to Verona. We call these kind of miniature vacations a mini-moon. They don’t have to be romantic, they just need to be someplace else. There is a little hotel out there that has a waffle iron as part of its continental breakfast. Its the reason we pick that hotel. So our one night away was a warm humid night, it had rained previously, so everything was wet and glistening in the street lamps. Walking back to our room, across the parking, lot in an unmown grassy area were hundreds of jazzy fireflies putting on a dazzling show. We stopped and watched caught up in the magic of their tiny willow-the-wisp yellow green dancing lights (until the mosquitoes found us). Summer splendor! Mini-moon magic!
Darkness, lantern turned off, listening to water dripping from the sodden trees. It is dry under the tarp, although the air is humid and the blankets feel damp. I hear night noises, quiet rustling and whispering shuffles out in the forest. I am contemplating the darkness of the nighttime world when I see a flash of tiny yellow light. It flashes several times more, I realize there is a lightening bug sitting on the outside of the tent. I see another on the other side. These two fireflies showing off their glowing tails in an effort to attract a mate. I am a silent spectator, watching with fascination, as a third firefly flies in toward the tent. I can not see the actually insects themselves, only the random yet rhythmic flashing of their tails. Its my own little personal fireworks show in the dry space under the tarp.
Good day on the river, good rapids in the gorge! This wet, rainy, cold summer has kept the water up so rafting is wild and fun . I miss the summer sunshine, heat radiating off tanned skin, endless blue sky. Today was again wet, misty low clouds floating ephemerally over the mountains, drizzly rain drops adding to the dark swirly water in the rapids. Near the end of the trip, where the river calms itself into swift flat water, it opens out onto longer straight sections between curves, Gore Mountain comes into view. The sun momentarily peaked from between billowing grey clouds catching all the misty wispy airborne water, lighting it ablaze with a dazzling brilliant rainbow that arched completely across the river. You could almost see the pots of glittering gold at either end where the translucent colors touched the ground.