In the Dead of Winter
I finally got out for a bit during my lunch hour on Thursday and it felt great. I didn’t have my long lens, so I didn’t get some shots I wanted. But I didn’t care. I also didn’t have a lot of time, but I still didn’t care. It just felt good to be out and about with my camera on a short photo walk taking photos again. It hit me that I really did miss this. Camera in hand. Dead of winter. Looking for signs of life.
We have been having another unusually warm winter, but this year we have a bit of snow. It was about 34 degrees and sunny. I grabbed my dusty binoculars out of the trunk of the old Mercury and headed for the river bank. There were about 25-30 Trumpeter Swans out a ways on the Mississippi, juvenile and adult. Also a bird or two singing on shore; however, I didn’t recognize the song. I frequent this park a lot in the spring, it is known for its Cedar Waxwing population. Sometimes they stick around in winter, other times not.
I came across tracks that are debatable as far as what species it is. I am not good at tracking. Yet. I also came across a lone Bald Eagle sitting out on a rock. Waiting for its lunch to swim by, perhaps? Too far out to tell or get a photo.
I took a few photos of the small stream running into the river and some odds and ends. Not really taking a picture of anything, just taking pictures.
Friday brought rain and about 35 degrees around the noon hour. Yes, rain in Minnesota in January. Very unusual. I had to stop by the funeral home and pick up my mom’s ashes, and lucky for me it is right on the river. I grabbed my protein shake and away I went. Unfortunately, I am no stranger to death. I have lost many in my family and also some close friends. Including my brother in 2005 at the age of 52, after a massive stroke. When my sister and I picked up my brother’s ashes years ago, we made a joke about seat-belting him in. Today it was just me. And no jokes. It was almost surreal. But I surprised myself and didn’t turn into a blubbering fool.
I headed down the hill to the river. I hung out in this area a lot last winter, this was my first time this season. Nothing much going down there, a couple of Trumpeter Swans swam through. I again forgot my 300mm and was disappointed. I still had 25 minutes to kill so I headed down to the boat landing again. I walked a little path to the river and took in the woods and the surroundings.
I walked through the woods, looking for critters and birds, and just took in nature. This was so much a part of me a year ago and I had come to love it. The drizzle was melting the snow a bit, there were leaves scattered, left from fall. I was searching for owls, but heard only the faint sound of some 40 or so Goldeneyes out on the river. I took some photos of random stuff, not really anything. I was alone at the park and it was a bit eery. But I felt so alive and at peace at that moment. More alive than I had felt in a long time. I knew that I was meant to do this. I headed back up the hill to the old car, stopped and got some Chinese and headed back to work.
As I sat eating my lunch at my desk, I opened my fortune cookie. I am not one to believe in any of that stuff, but my fortune read “the rubber bands are heading in the right direction”. I like to think it means something along the lines of my life is finally headed in the right direction, things are coming together, etc. It felt right.
As I was surfing the web the other night, I came across a saying that hit me like a ton of bricks.
“Today I close the door to the past, open the door to the future, take a deep breath, step on through and start a new chapter in my life”
Oh, and P.S. Sunday I went to the Swan Park. I have blogged about the swan park in the past. It was -2 F and there were at least a thousand Trumpeter Swans. I will save that for the next blog post!