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Saturday, August 1, 2009

Wild places

The skies finally cleared yesterday evening, and the sun from the west combined with dark clouds to the east created eerie but beautiful lighting.No coyotes followed us so the dogs could gallivant through the lush green grass. Don't worry - we kept our furry family close.
The water-logged world has nourished our wildflowers extending their life far later than usual. R bounced through the flowers.K followed so rapidly that the wind blew her floppy ears back against her head.This morning, the pack biked and ran together through the forest, navigating a trail that I 'discovered' this year. We ambled along soft pine-needle carpeted trails to a promontory with a view before turning back.After the rest of the pack headed home, I continued my quest to get lost on Saturdays - and in the process, find new trails and magical spots in our world. I moved through a dense forest on an ancient well-worn trail. I wonder how many years ago someone did the back-breaking work of building it?In the midst of the dark forest, a Prince's Pine glowed in a shaft of sunlight.I pedaled upward and out of the forest to a magical wildflower heaven, with a view of the mountains. Wildflowers reached out of the grass toward the sun. I believe that this blazing beauty is a Mountain Gumweed (Grindelia subalpina).A bumblebee drank nectar from a pollen-laden blossom.Another blossom hadn't yet opened - summer lives on!Pink Fairy Trumpets serenaded our canine angels.And Nodding Onions (Allium cernuum) nodded under their own weight.Close to the end of my ride, I thought about a route on a topo map that I'd contemplated - thinking that it would be a logical path for a trail. So, I meandered around the route, got lost, but eventually found a serpentine trail winding through the pine forest! It's amazing how often this trail serendipity occurs - someone else had exactly the same idea that I did. As I rode my new trail, a tiny silver form fluttered in front of my wheel. Thankfully, I avoided crushing him and enjoyed the beauty of my new friend.In the end, I spent my whole morning wandering the forest on my bike, and I didn't see another person. As I passed through beautiful spots, I wondered how long it had been since a human had explored there. That's my definition of 'wilderness'. Wild enough that I can get lost. Wild enough that I don't see evidence of other people. Wild enough that I'm certain that covert animals watched me pedal past them. The government can declare all the wilderness areas that they want - and I applaud the protection of special and fragile places. But, unless I can find solitude and quiet, I don't think of a place as wilderness. By wandering, I'm discovering that wilderness, by my definition, surrounds me.

1 comment:

  1. Lucky you - Fairy trumpets! Yours might be the only I see this summer. Beautiful here today but windy. My husband biked while I continued some garden work I started yesterday. Last night the bear was in the neighborhood - a neighbor called me about 7 PM - but I never saw it.
    Watch out for the coyote. I encountered one at close range years ago with my Golden. The coyote didn't exhibit predatory behavior, but it definitely wasn't scared of us.


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