Made by Hand

Day 4 Sage Hen: Today....

Today was something, is something else. Very internal. I’ve been here in relative isolation for 5 days. That’s not the same these days with email and instagram and face book and NPR streaming. But mostly I’ve been alone with my thoughts and this place. Just starting to know my way around. 

Today was different than yesterday. No big surprise and grateful for that. I was less focused on tree identification. I had some writing to do. By the time I went out I was bit disconnected from what I felt yesterday which was a visceral sense of deep belonging and love. It’s in that poem. I know, it’s too sappy. Sometimes that I am. And I admit it. Then I move on. 

Today I went off trail once I noticed the meadows opening up to the left of me. My so lovely and open. Is this the way the forests once were? I’m not all that clear on how the woods were maintained before Anglos arrived…. 

I went out. First little moment happened when I needed to cross a creek. On foot I guess I would have walked through the water but with skis and the angle of the drop off due to the snow pack I found an old snag spanning the little river and decided to cross. Hmmm. But I had to be careful. Awkward moving these days with a new ankle and an old hip. Halfway across things are looking good until somehow left and then right ski slipped and I was tangled still half on the log and half on land. Gene now what. Dropping my poles I struggled, lift the leg no that hurts what now stuck come on get out and finally high leg lift and wow free! And off I skied into the meadow. Shuuuush…..!

Open. Something is blowing in. A cold front but still the day was warm enough. I moved over the snow into the open mountain meadow, like a valley of sorts, or a fen, keeping my eyes open to my surroundings. I didn’t exactly feel alone.

Sage Hen Creek has many tributaries that run under the snow pack and make gentle bulbous humps in the meadow given some snowpack. The trees, firs and pines (I’ve only identified 3 cedars and not in this area), stand watch around the perimeter. As I enjoy my ride across the white stuff I notice tracks, criss-crossing the meadow, small and larger, many weaving around rocks, up over and across the plane up into the higher mountains rimming the fen. I’m drawn towards these trails and tracks and start to read them more. There I can see tiny tracks coming out from a hole that abruptly disappear at a larger impact as if the tiny being was lifted up into the air. Ahh. This is a dangerous place. My struggle crossing the snag, this small creature’s life suddenly cropped in flight. 

I ski the rim of the meadow, not wanting to leave but knowing that my mildly injured body is in need of moderation so I turn back toward the established trail. Near the bank where I need to climb to get to the road I spot something in the snow, it’s red, another impact at the edge of a hole. What happened? Did they get eaten or did they escape, I wondered as I looked deeper into the burrow to see drips of scarlet going down deeper into the snow pack. 

So much going on here when we are not here. My hike back to the main road was a bit challenging, and I had some moments of doubt as the sun started to descend but just then there it was. Main trail. I was closer to home than I thought.

Later on after answering emails and working on more drafts I went out to time the hike to the main road. 38 minutes not bad but then decided due to various concerns that I’ll forgo going to town tomorrow. I’ll stay here for the full term, until Thursday. I have what I need. Coffee, booze, food, Time.