Bare trees and tiny bones

all quiet in Mill Creek

Took the opportunity yesterday to walk for a few hours in the river valley in and around Mill Creek. Like my walk this morning in Whitemud Ravine, the leaves are gone from the trees. Mostly. It’s extraordinary to watch the landscape explode into colour, but there is something so beautifully quiet and contemplative about the woods when the trees are bare, before the snow has fallen. At 5:30 in the afternoon in Mill Creek, the sky was metal grey and the branches disappeared into the clouds as if there was some sort of high mist. The paths have opened up after a summer’s worth of leafy congestion. No people, no dogs. I was completely alone. I saw a robin sitting in a tree, which is a little late in the year for those fairweather birds, and all around were the ubiquitous magpies and a blue jay, badgering me, I think, for taking my peanuts and moving to another part of town. Other than the birds, a solitary walk in the soft colours of mid-autumn. I understand why Andrew Wyeth was so compelled to paint this sort of landscape. Why I’m so compelled to take bad pictures of it, none of them even coming close to capturing the moodiness.

The morning walk in Whitemud was brighter and more lively. Only about an hour. Must have rained a bit last night; the ground was wet and smelled great…like, oh I don’t know, wet autumn leaves after a night of rain. In spite of the chill, Maggie still wanted to jump in the creek. I wouldn’t mind but the water is so still this time of year, I’m sure it’s full of beaver-born wee beasties. And beavers. Around the curve of the path where Maggie likes to make her move into the creek, I put her on the chain. She seemed a little hurt. Later, she got back at me by crunching down on a bone she picked up in the grass. I had to shove my hand in her mouth up to my elbow to remove it. I couldn’t bring myself to look hard at the thing…a quick glance registered some sort of skull shape, like a bird, or a tiny sasquatch. After the skullectomy, I didn’t know what to do with my hand…covered in gob and bird bones, so I just let it hang by side, dripping, until I got home. Gross. It’s always an adventure walking with a dog.


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