I’ve been in the mood for environmental portraits lately but this white-crowned sparrow insisted on a close-up.
Trixie thinks Boo’s pillow technique could use some work, that he’s sort of missing the point of pillows, but our tuxedo has always marched to his own beat. He had been curled up beside me, he’s been snuggled up a lot this fall and is sleeping on my legs as I write this, I’m not sure if it’s because with the cooler weather I can turn off his nemesis, my ceiling fan, or because he’s always liked to rotate around his sleeping locations.
It’s the time of year to repost one of my favorite images, from 2009, Emma and the tree she loved too much. Of all the loves through all of time I think none was as pure as her love for this tree. It only had to survive 7 years of her affections as she died far too young, but even so we decided when we left Portland that after a couple of decades it was time to say goodbye to the bedraggled old thing. We went without a tree our first two years in Arizona but I put up the new one last night, holding back a few tears thinking of how much easier it is to assemble without a black cat jumping into its branches before you can even piece it together.
I stood beside Balanced Rock at sunrise, in the distance Brown’s Mountain and Cone Mountain, two pyramids formed by nature rather than vainglorious kings. Perhaps because of the gently sloping boulder beneath my feet the height above the desert floor didn’t trigger my vertigo, even the peak of Brown’s Mountain is kind enough that I can climb it so long as I avoid some of the edges. Some trails here force me to turn around but that’s both nothing new and fine besides, as trails we have aplenty.
I met a fellow hiker with his dog who was enjoying being back on the trails after getting both knees replaced. He obviously loved her and said she was his first dog and knew now he’d never again be without one. A cyclist was there who moved from the Pacific Northwest at the start of our long dry summer, he and his wife bought bikes and were learning to ride on the many trails. I assured him it is always so lovely but not always so hot.
He noted I must have made a beeline to arrive by sunrise, I only do it sometimes as at heart I like to walk and wonder. On a hike weeks earlier I noted in my journal I “was really dawdling along for the first hour, Ellie would have been so proud!” As much as I love hiking, my favorite walks were bimbling around with her as we followed her nose through our old Portland neighborhood. These little ones grab hold of your heart and never let go, even after they’re gone. So too these lands, though we are the ones who must leave.