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Remembering Hannah--Dean's Fork Walk 2

Sunday, December 3, 2017

I looked back down where I'd been and reveled at the stripe of sunlight still illuminating Hannah's old pasture. That big cut log to the left is where I saw her last, on my birthday in July, 2016. That image is burned into my mind. That was a day the animals came to me, too. Three skunks and Hannah.  They know.

There was nothing like this moment, and it was one of those rare times when the camera captured exactly how it felt to be met, accompanied, as darkness was falling. That was the last time I saw Hannah. I understand she's gone to live with five other horses. So maybe that's good, better for her. But Dean's Fork just isn't the same without the spirit of this perfectly made, cool little Appaloosa. I loved it so much when she'd come walking out to meet me, and accompany me a few hundred yards down the road before turning back to her preferred pasture.

A redtail screamed and circled overhead. They always make me smile, because I'm wondering if DOD sent them. At this point I'd have been perfectly content with all I'd seen and been able to shoot. But I heard footsteps in the leaf litter, and the fattest of all possums came walking down, crossed the road, climbed down into the streambank and up the other side, and kept going.

He was a good-looking boar possum, had most of his tender ears (frost tends to bite them ragged); had his whole tail and all his fur.


He crossed Hannah's pasture and kept walking. I bet he knows where all the persimmon trees are.

And up the next slope he went, a possum with a purpose.


I wasn't dead sure who left these. Maybe a bobcat, maybe a fox. Hybrid poop, with the short squarish segments of a cat, and the long hairy taper of a canid.

In November, you begin to treasure the last colored leaves. You look for the contrast between them and the brown background, and revel in the blue sky while it's here.

I got down to the black barn, and the magic portal that let me inside last time I was there had been tied delicately shut with blue twine. Oh. 
As much as I'd enjoyed snooping around in there, I was glad to think that someone was trying to keep the barn uninvaded. 

I stuck my iPhone's eye up to a crack and got in that way.

 I never tire of the slashes of light that come through open barn siding. I know I'll paint this phenomenon someday, maybe when I have to sit still for awhile. Like, getting over something, or letting something heal.  I feel compelled to move as much as I can while I still can. 

Everything was still in place, including the giant black mound of bat guano that makes me smile every time I see it. That's a LOTTA BATS. Or a few, pooping for a very long time. Either way, it's a beautiful thing, at least to me.

Back out in the sunlight, I found more tracks from the good-sized coy-wolf that had made the exact same walk I was making, just a few hours earlier. He'd have to do for my canine companion. Unseen, like most of my companions these days.


Thank you for this beautiful post. It's my birthday today and I'm about to head out for my birthday walk...hoping I'll see nature in it's own language here in my neck of the woods in Colorado. My friends are always amazed at what I see but I always tell them you won't see anything unless you get outside!

Julie, your story makes me think of a beautifl poem about two horses:"A Blessing" by James Wright. If you aren't familiar with it, read it here:

Thank you for posting, even though I know that you are away right now. It lifts me up to read your posts. Unexpected pleasures are the very best.

Another good walk with you. thanks

Julie, Thank you for sharing posts while you're away. Hannah is a beauty - that photo really stirs emotions. And the possum! I just saw one the other day waddling across the road and then ambling through the leaf litter and along fallen trees. I stopped and watched, enthralled I was. Then I saw this post and relived the experience, though I wish I'd paid miore attention to the ears. Hope your travels are exceeding expectations and you're seeing the jays. Kim in PA

Lovely post, Julie. And you're absolutely right about the "get out and move while you can" part. I am at the top of the slippery "I soon won't be able to" slope. You go for all of us who can't, girl.

And although I haven't commented on the recent Jemima posts, I've been following them avidly, and I intend to place my order with you for an autographed copy of the book the minute you have copies to sell.

Hi Julie, I'm catching up on older posts . Hannah's image is captivating. Would you consider enlarging and selling the prints?

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