We got home from Middle Ridge late on New Year’s Day. We drove up after Christmas to spend a few days and have a quiet family-focused New Year. The wind was fierce and cold, and we woke up to wind roaring around the corners of the cottage, rattling the roof, and just the thinnest layer of snow on the ground.
Mornings at Middle Ridge are not to be missed. My internal clock knows it’s time. Steaming coffee in one hand, and my Bible in the other, I curl up in a chair to view the ever shifting dawn through the dining room window.
GraceNotes and #1 Son skated in the barn. We did not “go into town” this time, just relaxed and played games, watched The Game (Redskins vs Dallas), read books, cooked food, listened to music and went for long walks.
Our walks took us over the fields, and into the woods as we sought our favorite enormous boulder. Then we hiked up and down as we crossed the series of rippling ravines that flow down in folds from the shoulder of the forested ridge. We jumped thin brooks, grabbing tree trunks to pull ourselves up steep banks, slipping in the mud and wet leaves occasionally and getting stuck in the ever-present thorns infesting the ground. Great fun!
We were not nearly as red-faced as we were post Dark Hollow Falls. Progress! Our Morning Walks are helping! In any case our scent, laughter and noisy crashing through the forest has likely ruined any hunting for a few days.
Back home in the flat-lands of the coastal South, we are adjusting the route of our now well-established Morning Walks to occasionally include the perpendicular bridges near our home in order to benefit from four subtle inclines. Really, the only hills we have access too. Some mornings we are out before the sun rises, when Venus twinkles brightly, and we can watch the sky shift from shades to tints of cerulean blue. Other mornings the birds have beat us to it, and we are smiling a greeting at the high school kids waiting for the bus. Either way it is wonderful to start the day with fresh eyes, ready to catch a glimpse of something lovely in a fresh morning.
Today we were excited to see pelicans, cormorants, bufflehead ducks, and a great blue heron – all in proximity – but still a bit of a distance away. My camera phone is good – but not that good. Crossing the bridge the other direction I was able to get a few pictures of the pelicans, each perched on a wood dock piling.
We also found an enormous cache of Burr Oak (Quercus macrocarpa) acorns, which excited me tremendously! Another acorn to add to the collection!