A yearling bear and I startled each other the day before yesterday as I was walking down the road and it was lying in the stream to beat the heat. For once, I prioritized wildlife watching over photographic documentation, so here instead is a photo of a rock flipped by a bear looking for edible larvae and other invertebrates.
It was sheer serendipity that a new(ish) leaf happened to be in just the right spot in the photo!
One of 24 haiku (many of them admittedly pretty bad) that I drafted in the course of a ten-mile ramble through central Pennsylvania’s Seven Mountains area on Friday, mostly on trails that I’ve hiked and camped along dozens of times over the decades. This old ridgetop spring was originally built for watering horses, I believe.
I’m not sure who hunts this portion of the ridge but I like their aesthetic, and I did indeed sit there for a spell this afternoon, reading poetry and feeling inspired, until the rain started. On the walk back, the first two lines came to me and I debated over what sort of “spelling” to go with. One idea that I rejected as too cerebral:
sitting for a spell the word orogeny
I was keen to include the word “mountain,” especially as part of a fuller spell — sand stone mountain — but that one extra word seemed to break the spell, as it were: a practical lesson in magic. The one change I could get away with, I think, would be to go more colloquial and change sitting to setting, which could conjure up images of pudding, jello, etc.
Unlike their cousins yellow birch, which can live for hundreds of years, black birch (Betula lenta) are short-lived trees on average, meaning they rarely get beyond 80-100 years old. But that doesn’t mean they don’t still have plenty of time to develop character. And it makes them more relatable, at least to those of us with more than half a century under our belts.
Photo shot today on a solo hike in the Seven Mountains region of central Pennsylvania.