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Animal Magic on Dean's Fork

Tuesday, April 11, 2017


By July 13, 2016, the Canada lilies I'd never known were there burst into bloom on the banks of the  pond. Blue campanula set them off nicely. I left a note on the door of the sometime inhabitants of the little solar-powered cabin nearby, to go look for these ephemeral floral treats. I like doing stuff like that, shining a little light into the woods for others to see. 



Wild bergamot in two colors, July 13, 2016


And who could forget July 24, 2016, my birthday, when I was showered with gifts by my favorite dirt road? I swear, it seemed all the animals came out to wish me well!  I'll admit that it does help to walk there at dusk, when they're coming out anyway.


Twin bucks, July 24, 2016. Gosh, ya think they're brothers?


One of the twins has better judgement. Can you guess which one?


The most beautiful skunk came out to show me his pink toes and nose.  He rumbled right up the road toward us. We had to climb a bank to get out of his way!
I recognized him from early morning skunk watchings I'd been conducting. There were three skunks living down there last summer, and I met them all several times. Skunks are a behavior-watcher's ideal animal, because each one is as distinct in markings as a smelly lil' snowflake.


But the best birthday present of all was waiting down in the gloaming, just as it was getting dark. My Hannah, the Loose Appaloosa, an apparition in the dusk.


And this evening, the last time I saw Hannah, she was more beautiful and kind to me than ever. I didn't know it was the last time. I simply treasured it, like all the other times I met up with her, and loved on her. 

She's gone on, I'm told, to live elsewhere,  about two hours away, with other horse friends. I miss her more than I can say.

July 24, 2016.


From that same day, a wood thrush concerto that now, in early April, seems otherworldly, unbelievably rich. It's hard to believe they'll be back soon and tuning their flutes in a matter of a week or two. This video was taken just below the dam, along a low wet meadow that's full of Joe-Pye weed and ironweed in August. Here it is in late July, with the thrushes spinning their silvery songs across the road.



By September  28, 2016, after a lush wonderful start and a hideously dry late summer, the pond had all but dried up. It was sad, but inevitable, because the half-dam the beaver had built didn't set back enough water to last through the drought. 

At least this drying out was gradual, not the cataclysm of September 1, 2014. I resigned myself to watching this little ecosystem briefly flourish, be destroyed, creep back to a shadow of its former glory, dry up...whatever fate and that lawless jackass brought, I'd be there to witness. Dean's Fork and I are too intertwined for me to turn away from it; its riches are so varied and precious I literally starve without them. Since I first started walking this road in perhaps 2007, it has become essential to my well-being. It is my habitat, in some ways even more than my home and gardens are. When I am there, I have complete thoughts; I write songs; I leave my corporeal body and commune with the animals; I connect to who I really am. 


3 comments:

I just recently read these words by Robert James Waller in Old Songs in a New Cafe (it's a collection of essays) and am now thinking of you as I read this post. He wrote, in his essay The Turning of Fifty - "For me, I'm content with Waller's Second Conjecture: Existence takes on meaning only when you give it meaning by making it meaningful. And how do you make it meaningful? By listening to those most-secret voices within you that, at certain times, whisper, 'This is me.'" Kim in PA

I am so thankful that I found your blog. I treasure every post.
I am so appreciative of your, words, your pictures and thoughts.
Thank you for sharing Julie! ♥

I'm sorry about Hannah. I hope that she's happy with her horse friends. Thank you for sharing her with us. Like everyone that you have introduced us to, she has made a place in my heart as well.

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