The drive up was uneventful aside from the split second that I saw two bald eagles soaring over the highway. Google maps never got off the ground- leaving me to turn left on Belmont into perpetuity. I think I like written directions better anyway.
I forgot to call ahead from the road, but it seemed like Rubina was waiting for me. She is an effervescent greeter which I appreciate because I can be reserved and weird at first. New places, especially places of residence (temporary or not) always leave me a little panicky. I dumped my things and followed Rubina's directions down to the river. There was still snow on the ground, so with the sun out it was very bright. I saw some desiccated wild cucumbers- wish I remembered what, if anything, John taught me about them. The dried leftovers look a good deal like tiny doll loofahs. I put one in my pocket to take home and show Tavi.
I walked up river a bit but realized I didn't know where the property ended and I felt a little jumpy with John's story about the hunter attacking him fresh on my mind. So I turned around and walked downstream towards the road. There was a bit of a trail- more deer than human with the snow. Just before I climbed up to the road I noticed a kind of cave/tunnel next to the two tunnels the river flowed through. I went to check it out and it was just that- a kind of man made cave under the road. When my eyes adjusted I saw a grate at the end, with one section removed and lying on the ground. I didn't really want to find out where it went. What really struck me was that there was absolutely no graffiti anywhere in the cave and no trash what-so-ever. I thought "wow, I'm not in the city anymore!" Still, it made me feel weird. Like- is this a town that has never had a single teenager?
It's been a long time since I was just in the woods. It took me a minute to adjust my eyes. So many little moving things. I clomped through the pines to the lake edge (saying a little prayer that my new/old boots were water-fast). There was a mostly dry stump by the edge of the water so I sat down. When I was squatting by the river I kept thinking I was seeing mice in the grass- but by the lake I realized that was just a memory from being in mouse-y fields as a kid. What I was seeing here were clumps of snow falling off the grass as it melted.
I sat until I noticed the sun was different and then I walked. Actually, I looked at the map on my phone again because I didn't want to tramp onto anyone's property. Then I walked. There was an off season YMCA camp, and someone had cleared a skating rink on the lake. I kept walking around the lake. I saw a lot of woodpeckers, but I wanted to see a squirrel.
Once I got out of the camp-zone I started noticing some plants I know and love. Dried asters, mullein, sumac and milkweed. There was a knot of grapevine with a bunch of bird nests in it and the melting clumps of snow inside caught my eye for a second because they looked like eggs.
I turned onto the next road and immediately saw a black squirrel scamper up a tree. It scared out some more woodpeckers. The farm that came up next was very odd. Tunnels and tunnels of chicken wire making a massive enclosed structure roughly five feet tall. It looked like some corn or other stalky plants had been growing inside. I kept hearing a weird sound and after a minute I realized the inner section of the enclosure was totally full of pheasants. The pheasants reminded me that I was hungry so I kept walking back to the homestead. After stressing so much about food I had some really tasty snacks and tea with me, so I don't know why I stressed.
I worked a little longer in the studio but felt aimless post-snack. I went into my room and started working on the quilt mending, which will be really neat I think! It's very quiet here. I think two other women are home, but they are also hiding out in their rooms. I am tired and I miss Tavi. The room is cozy, though. I have tea and chocolate that someone put out on the table. I'm not entirely sure what I'm doing here, but I got some work done and went for a walk so I've accomplished enough either way.