Early January Fog Walk

 

 

January 2, 2014 830 a.m.

 

Around the barn. Pea-soup thick fog and an enormous careening flock of starlings or Brewer’s Blackbirds; I can’t tell which since as soon as I get close enough and fix my glasses on them, they rise up and turn circles en masse.

Foggy day in January around the barn at Mule Springs Farm
Foggy day in January around the barn at Mule Springs Farm

 

Walking through the East Oak Savannah; it’s filled with this fog. The sounds of house finch chatter weaves around the oaks reaching us all the way from the feeder at the house a half-mile away.  I also hear a short carol of an American robin deep within the foggy veil.

 

The dogs, donkeys, and I find evidence of pheasant under our favorite old Ponderosa Pine. I pick up a long, narrow feather and stroke Ziggy’s muzzle with its tip. He relaxes into the feather and takes a deep breath.

 

This isn’t a place I associate with pheasants. They like tall grasses and fields and agriculture. The pine litter is disturbed, as though a few pheasants have been scratching about. I suspect a killing, but don’t see any bird’s carcass, so perhaps just a cavorting. I put four of the long striated feathers into my backpack, and zip them in.

 

********************************

 

The donkeys munch on wet grasses for the fog leaves everything it touches moist.  The fog is such a presence as it presses down around us.  Winter oaks stand barren as their naked arms rise and their branches spread out like long crooked fingers.  Under the oaks, partially decayed leaves lay in a tangle of bronze, brown, and dirty gold –an endless array of crazy quilt. The wet, winter-weary pale grasses slump under our footfalls.

 

The game trail winds through the oak savannah, and we follow its invitation. The hollow clang of the bird dogs’ bells sound as Skookum and Ouzel explore beyond the trail’s boundaries and then they return to meet me and the donkeys on the trail further along.

 

I see five small scatterings of deer pellet spaced a few feet apart, and this is an observation worth note, since I don’t see many deer on our farm, because of the surrounding commercial orchards, and their very tall and effective fences.  But, lately I’ve noticed some things are changing, and I’m seeing a greater abundance of quite a few different animals around Mule Springs.  Our wildlife habit and land restoration programs may be responsible.

 

11 thoughts on “Early January Fog Walk

  1. I love the idea that you’re starting to observe animal changes on your land! I think that’s pretty exciting. We’ve had so many foggy days here lately. The fog always brings the hope that the day will clear by afternoon to sunshine, but that doesn’t always happen. You did a great job of using almost all your senses….I often forget about sounds, and your sound descriptions here really helped me to “feel” the scene.

    1. I love the idea that you’re starting to observe animal changes on your land! I think that’s pretty exciting. We’ve had so many foggy days here lately. The fog always brings the hope that the day will clear by afternoon to sunshine, but that doesn’t always happen. You did a great job of using almost all your senses….I often forget about sounds, and your sound descriptions here really helped me to “feel” the scene. Hi Mary- I guess Heidi told you they have had a lot of fog in Ketchikan too — many flights cancelled. Thank you. I have been very inspired by Dorothy Wordsworth’s Grasmere Journal, which has no plot but depicts snippets of what she saw during her daily walks from 1800 – 1803.

  2. What an awesome photo….note card perfect! You have brought the environment alive again! Continue to be blessed…..Carol

  3. We’ve had fog here as well, I thought unusual for Central Oregon since I hadn’t experienced it in my other two winters here but I was told it’s relatively common. I love the essay and could almost feel myself walking with you, the donkeys, and dogs.

    I’m home from work today due to the warm temps and light rain that’s coated every road in ice! I made it a few blocks from home and turned around for home. Once home, I checked my email and found out work was closed! Sheesh – I need to reverse the order next time!

    1. We’ve had fog here as well, I thought unusual for Central Oregon since I hadn’t experienced it in my other two winters here but I was told it’s relatively common. I love the essay and could almost feel myself walking with you, the donkeys, and dogs.

      I’m home from work today due to the warm temps and light rain that’s coated every road in ice! I made it a few blocks from home and turned around for home. Once home, I checked my email and found out work was closed! Sheesh – I need to reverse the order next time!

      Hi Karen: Well, I bet Bend is having a tad of Spring weather now. I’ve been out of town for a few days and just got back in and wow– we have sun, no fog, and I was able to work outside around the barn for hours.

  4. You write so compellingly, Sher. Beautifully chosen words, which really give a sense of you being present in this place… making it so easy for me to be present there with you. How wonderful that you’re finding evidence of so many animals. Love it!

    1. You write so compellingly, Sher. Beautifully chosen words, which really give a sense of you being present in this place… making it so easy for me to be present there with you. How wonderful that you’re finding evidence of so many animals. Love it! Thank you Reggie!

  5. As I lie in bed and close my eyes I hear a soft crunch in the snow and look out to see beautiful deer crossing the pasture and feel so blessed to have seen these beautiful creatures in my life.

    1. As I lie in bed and close my eyes I hear a soft crunch in the snow and look out to see beautiful deer crossing the pasture and feel so blessed to have seen these beautiful creatures in my life. How wonderful for you Judi. I am happy for you too.

    1. Wonderful photo. You live in a beautiful place, Sher. Wish I could see it someday. Hi Shari — well one never knows; you may make it here someday, and I know it would be great fun for you – though maybe hotter than Japan. I say this, because most people visit in the summer. 🙂

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