Waking to a red sky is a good indicator of a tumultuous weather day ahead. The clouds flew by like time-lapsed footage. The wind was crazy strong - maybe 40 miles an hour at times. Little wind devils kicked up the golden carpet of pine needles and spun them into columns. Anxious to return to my granite outcropping on the mountain to experience the weather, I left in the shirt I slept in and yesterday's jeans.
Trout trotted ahead and then disappeared for a time. She returns from an unexpected direction before leaving me again and I know this will be one of many reconnections throughout our separate but together journey. I startled an owl and marveled at how silently he flew away. So big to move gracefully through a thick stand of trees and then disappear altogether. Yesterday, the big bird sighting was a pair of pileated woodpeckers hacking away high on a dying virginia pine.
A red tree caught my eye and directed me to the tiny nest it cradled.
The wind thundered like a waterfall with layers of sound from whispery evergreens and the brittle rattle of dying leaves clinging to the tips of hardwoods. ( 33 second video)
I did not expect to find this turtle way up here but later it made sense considering how much water is stored in the depressions and holes in the granite. There is also an amazing diversity of tiny plant life there too:
Back home after the hike I arranged last year's scarecrow in the trees by my driveway. It is
very halloween appropriate - the fabric is rotting off of its stick form and his stuffing is falling out.
I went back out in the late afternoon for a short walk and stood at the top of the driveway to just listen.
I could hear 3 layers of insects: one a constant hum, another a rhythmic pulse of crickets and finally the occasional chirp of yet another species. I could hear a branch rubbing against another in the wind making a mournful sound and a barking dog far away. What seems really quiet when I am not paying attention is actually very alive with sound.
When I returned it was magic hour and some of the locals decided to take advantage of the open door...