By Janelle Eklund
The grey static clouds that hung over the valley for the last few days evaporated in the cold night air of freezing temperatures. I’ve already hung up snowshoes and skis for the next season. My early morning exercise is now delegated to walking the Old Edgerton. The low rising sun filtered through the trees laying bar code shadows across the gravel road. The more I walked the more I got inspired by the wakening of a beautiful day. So with this inspiration tucked in my brain ideas formed for this writing. My brain seems to be taking a break from plant focus. But I'm sure it will return as the lingering sun casts its magic warmth day after day, gently nudging plants to yawn and stretch into a bright world.
As I walk along sentences form, but without pen and paper, recording those exact thoughts seem to waver away from my brain that is already packed so full from many years of cramming other information in. And the brain is not like a computer where you can delete forever those trivial pieces of information. I used to have one of those little mini pocket recorders for moments of inspiration but it died a long time ago and I haven't replaced it. Anyway, some of the words in those sentences do linger and once I'm at the computer they may just come out in a different configuration.
Early Saturday mornings are quiet and in the forty minutes of vigorous walking the sound of a car is non-existent. On weekday mornings I am greeted by the sounds of the Old Edgerton rush hour traffic, which amounts to about two or three cars. Many times these are pleasant inspiring moments as the occupants, who just happen to be friends and neighbors, take the time to stop and say a few inspiring words and leave their happy smiles.
So on this Saturday morning, without its rush hour traffic, I drank in the subtle sounds and flights of birds, gaining inspiration from them as they greeted the day. I always like the mysterious trill of the thrush inspiring me to stop and listen to its message. This morning a woodpecker was busy pounding a hole in a tree getting a nest ready for its brood. This in turn inspired me to dig in the greenhouse bins readying them for baby plants.
My eyes caught the flutter of something standing on the south snow bank drinking in the morning sun. At the distance I was from it I thought it was maybe an owl. Its wings settled down and as I got closer it was obvious that it was a ruffed grouse. They are pretty much like spruce grouse in that they just hold their stance as you walk by. As I was close to the house at that point, this inspired me to get my camera to see about capturing him on film. I had to walk a bit to the house, change the lens on my camera, put it on the tripod, and walk back out to the road hoping he'd still be there. Sure enough he was but as I crept closer trying to adjust the settings on the camera he turned and walked over the snow bank and into the woods. Oh well, at least I got a good photo in my mind's eye and he gave me inspiration for the start of a good day.
Now I wait with anticipation to hear the wind in the wings of the first snipe returning for the season. Once I hear that and the flapping and honking of swans I know summer is here.
From my light to yours-
Who We Are
WISEfriends are several writers connected with Wrangell Institute for Science and Environment, a nonprofit organization located in Alaska's Copper River Valley. Most of these articles originally appeared in our local newspaper, the Copper River Record.