We ended 2009 with a sunset walk with some human friends and their dog. The sun fell behind the mountains in a soft golden shroud of clouds.I have to admit that I missed the actual hour of transition from 2009 to 2010 because I was sound asleep. However, yesterday, I thought about the highs and lows of 2009, remembering that both the good, like my wonderful forest wanderings with K, and the bad, like the death of S, make up a life. Even the unpleasant events transform our souls, sometimes in positive ways. Thus, my philosophy is that I need to take stock of all of it, not just the good parts.
In 2009, I started my wildlife camera hobby, and this morning, I checked the infrared camera set up on the edge of a meadow, below a boulder that's surrounded by pine trees. Many wild animals gravitate to 'edge' environments because of the diversity of plant and animal life that teems on those brinks. Moreover, animals can sneak out into the open meadow to hunt grasslands prey or eat grass but they can easily flee into the cover of the nearby forest if needed. Indeed, my camera spot was busy this week.
First, a coyote carefully examined the entrance to the Mountain Cottontail Rabbit den.
Less than an hour later, the rabbit emerged and sat at the base of the boulder. He stayed in one spot for a long time, unmoving. Then, he disappeared, probably back to the safety of his den.
Then, less than 12 hours later, a bobcat marched through. You can click on any of these images to magnify them.
He sampled the scent markers left by either himself or other bobcats (see here where I caught a bobcat leaving a scent marker at this spot in December). Then, he stared at the entrance to the rabbit den before moving on.
While I visited the camera, I moved it slightly so that it will show the top of the boulder as well as the base. It occurred to me that, if I were a bobcat hunting that rabbit, I'd lie patiently atop the boulder waiting for the rabbit to venture out of his den. If a bobcat tries this strategy, I hope to capture it on camera.
The new year dawned windy, warm, and beautiful.
To start the new year right, K and I went for a snow bike ride today. A fierce wind resculpted our world last night, depositing fine snow crystals into the furrows of the packed trails. Consequently, bike riding was much tougher today than yesterday. But, I didn't mind. I was on the trails with my K.
We alternately rolled along fast and then floundered at the speed of a tortoise when my tires stampeded into a snow drift. Snow conditions barely affect K.
At one point, I left her in a distant 'stay', rode away, and then called her.
She did a fast recall through wind-packed snow, leaving a trail of glittering snow kicked up behind her.Finishing with a strong charge toward me. That's my girl!
After I dropped K off at home, I had a lazy and slow ride. I rode partly on roads and made forays onto trails, investigating whether they were passable for my snow bike despite last night's winds. Some were passable and some weren't. But, as I like to remind myself, if I don't investigate a route, I might miss the perfect adventure - so even the unsuccessful investigations are important!
As I rode, I found my thoughts wandering to and fro but one optimistic thought kept returning. This thought was a shockingly huge leap for my psyche. I wondered what life would be like if I had less pain after my surgery.
I usually don't even allow myself to daydream about less pain. I simply accept it as part of who I am. After all, I've had intense pain from my low back and neck since I was a teenager. But, today I dared to dream. I think that my spirit is building up to the big day of surgery. Yes, it's very scary to think of having 5 neck vertebrae fused together into one bone. It's humbling to realize that a generous donor's bone will allow my surgeon to work his wonders. But, I'm starting to see a sliver of sunlight peeking through the dense forest, telling me that I have a chance of feeling better after the surgery than I do now. That's enough for me.
As I continued my freeform thinking, I decided that I'd like to declare my 2010 as the Year of the Bobcat. Bobcats are adaptable, tough as nails, and have flexible strong spines. I'd like to think that I can be as tough as the bobcat who visited the camera boulder in December.My dogs are horrified!