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Eavesdropping on a Forest

Summer boondocking in the upper Rio Grande, a couple summers ago. If I had to pick my favorite moment of an outdoor-day, it might well the first one, when "night's candles are burnt out, and jocund day stands tiptoe on the misty mountaintops." [*] That's how the day starts for us when I park with the RV's door and bedroom window facing east.

Soon the high-country's sun hits the bedroom window with a soft pounce. Coffee Girl starts her day by walking from the foot of the bed to my head. She softly drops her head on my neck and holds it there. My official morning hug, I guess. Both dogs are impatient to get going. They prefer to hit the trail at sunrise. There aren't many wildflowers on today's hike, but they're nice.

Hunters are probably the only people who have ever come up the volcanic ridge that we were walking on. Most hikers follow the brown signs and stakes. I loved the contrasts of grass and trees, ridge and cliff. Most of all I loved the breezy openness. Near the top of the grassy area a raven flew by. They are my good luck symbols. 

Above me was a tall cliff that served as a natural amphitheater. It seemed like eavesdropping to listen to it all: the insects, falling trees, woodpeckers, crows...I sat there for twenty minutes. I've never really listened to a forest before. It certainly wasn't the mystical forest-murmurs that some people romanticize. Rather, it was more like a cell phone conversation that was breaking up.

On the way down I got frustrated traversing the steep slopes in trail runner shoes. I wanted to walk home along a grassy ridgeline without bumbling into ravines or dense forests.  At one point the other side of the ravine looked more promising. No sooner did I get across than I looked back to see the old ridge showing a continuous path of grass. Talk about the grass being greener on the other side.

Back home I showered and then napped with the dogs. It's so nice to see them wasted.

[*] Those wishing to "brush up their Shakespeare" by looking up text based on your mouldering memory might enjoy .