Monday, December 15, 2014

Passing GO....Winter Solstice 2014

    A year ago this week, with the help of several friends and my new neighbors, I moved in to what I've taken to calling my Gypsy Home here at Lightspring Glen. As the first of these 2014 posts relates, that first shivery-cold night found me too excited to sleep for a long while, entranced as I was by the snowy beauty of the shadowy woods beyond my bedroom window.
    Now the year has come round its full Wheel of the Seasons and once again deep snow encircles the pond and graces the woods, and a second Christmas tree lights the living room with its multi-hued glow. A good many of the other Earth Pilgrim posts capture the magick & marvel of many other days of this year, 2014....and it's not at all an exaggeration to say that not a day has passed that I have not delighted in the sheer joy of being the Resident Human of Lightspring Glen.
    I was welcomed early a certain way, at an amazing number of the wild residents. Some of these encounters became subject matter for this blog. The owls, the birds visiting the feeders, the otter, the deer, the bear, the bob cat, the crows and ravens, and the sweet box turtle who slowly traversed the back lawn one June afternoon...all such special visitations. And that several allowed a certain direct communion thrilled me to the marrow. To no surprise, lots of human friends have found their way here as well, stayed as long as they could, and left (often reluctantly) promising to return for more of the peace and beauty they found at Lightspring Glen. I assured them the Welcome Mat will always be out.
    A week or so ago I stood at the window as the Season's early dark softly enfolded the lacy curtains of snow that had been falling most of the day. Robert Frost's "Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening" came to mind and I recited it softly, leaning on the window sill. "Whose woods these are I think I know...".  My heart filled with Frost's words and the mesmerizing beauty before me. I paused a moment at the last two lines, happy tears slipping down my cheeks. "And miles to go before I sleep...And miles to go before I sleep."
    I smiled. No such miles to go for me now. I am home...the first year at Lightspring Glen wonderfully complete, and another wondrous, magical one awaiting me.
    From all the beautiful Beings here at Lightspring Glen...and me!...we wish everyone a peace-filled Solstice and a joyful Yule.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Jewels in the Weeds - August 2014

It is two days until the end of August and I am celebrating a special anniversary. Though I've lost track of the actual day, just a year ago I drove up to this place, seven acres of Paradise that opened wide its arms to receive me in. The Official Welcomer that day was a magnificent owl that my realtor-friend, Barb, and I startled from its day-time perch beside the waterfall. As the huge bird disappeared into the trees I only had time to exclaim, "Wow! A Red-tail Hawk!" But no, this winged resident was awaiting us in the pine grove and it took my breath away when Barb pointedly excitedly at it not twenty yards from us. "It wasn't a's an owl!" The owl peered intently at us, tipping its head first to one side, then the other. Then, our measure taken, it flew off silently through the hemlocks, the sense of welcome zinging straight to my heart.

As I've shared in many of these Earth Pilgrim posts, so many other beautiful residents of these Catskill foothills have also crossed my path, each a privileged and often magical encounter. Only a week ago I was thrilled to the marrow by another amazing one. I was standing quietly at a special spot where I go to greet the day, and out of the corner of my eye saw a movement. Not thirty yards off through the hemlock grove a bobcat was padding silently through the woods, a squirrel hanging limply from its jaws. The rays of the morning sun played light and shadow patterns on the golden fur as s/he moved gracefully along. Yes, full of such grace. I stood stock still, mesmerized. S/he paused in an opening and turned to look intently at me, long seconds of a deep perceiving one another. "You're so beautiful," I whispered. Then, still unhurried, s/he turned and disappeared into the undergrowth.

Other treasures of this land are being offered in special abundance as harvest days arrive. For most of August the countryside has been lavishly arrayed in orange and yellow Jewel Weed, the white doilies of Queen Anne's Lace, the magenta plumes of Queen of the Meadow, and the multi-hued shades of Goldenrod. And as the expression goes, "I could go on"! A foggy morning of a few days ago created the ultimate accenting bling for these riotous wildflower bouquets. The rising mists be-jeweled the spider webs strewn all along the pond's edge. Their dazzling allure refused to release me for quite a while. But truly, to borrow Mary Oliver's line in The Summer Day, "Tell me, what else should I have done?"  The answer is obvious. Mary Oliver trusts in her readers' easy understanding as do I of you. I hope you can see my grin!

The treasures of this first year at Lightspring Glen are at times almost beyond measure. But I, this often blissed-out Earth Pilgrim, am only too happy and thoroughly delighted to continue to pass them out in heaping handfuls. En-Joy!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Within the Green Cauldron

This summer's days have languorously unspooled themselves in the weeks following Solstice and so here we are on the far edge of July. Tho' the Farmer's Almanac predicted a hot, steamy season, so far it has been a lovely and moderate one here at Lightspring Glen, a pleasing balance of sunny days and refreshing rainfall. Gardeners I speak with offer gleeful reports of their lush gardens. My first-time vegetable patch sports a veritable tomato jungle with some of the eight plants nearing six feet. And I have a good hunch the Patty Pan squash with its "gi-normous" leaves is hosting garden-fairy parties beneath its marvelous green parasols.

The sun-dappled woods that once rang with bird-song during mating and nesting season is now a quieter place. I was a delighted witness to the fledging of the four phoebes who were raised on the front porch by their two hard-working parents. They all took flight on the same day, the last one just at dusk. It took me a while to stop checking on them through the porch window, the once busy moss-edged nest so oddly empty. For a couple days the parents kept them together in the saplings by the pond's inlet and I was so happy to see all four little ones hale and hardy.

Down below the yard, the waterfall and stream's chortling voices have likewise quieted to a more whispery conversation with the leaf-rustle of the trees, their leaves now all in Summer's deeper hues. The ponds are shimmering blue mirrors of green and sun-gold. The marvel of our invisible partnering with the trees goes on in its ancient, unceasing rhythm, they breathing out oxygen, we exhaling back to them. This gentle, sacred Dance awaits us any summer day we care to slip out-of-doors and accept the invitation.

Harvest days lie ahead with the good labor that this entails, but for these precious days, I seek this quiet pond-side seat, the tumult of the peopled-world blessedly over the far hill. I'll let that back in later...later.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


Summer Solstice was four days ago and I'm celebrating my first six months here at Lightspring Glen. Any who read these posts know the total delight I'm immersed in daily as I've settled in and made this my permanent address. Quite a bit of the enchantment comes from the other inhabitants of these seven acres, the Wild Ones who called this place home long before I spotted it for sale on the internet. Nearly every post has stories of these always-marvelous sightings and encounters including evidence of bear passing through the yard and a wistful hope I'd actually see one sometime. 

With miles and miles of woods and open land around here and the expanse of the Catskill Mountains not far off, wildlife of the larger sort, deer, bobcat, coyote, and bear, live in healthy number. Except for hunting season and dodging traffic as needed, their lives go on uninterrupted. This Spring's fawns have been about in the past few weeks. The first one I saw was along the road on a rainy dark night and I prayed it would not dash across until I'd driven past. To my great relief it didn't. That was Monday of a week ago. Two days later I was to catch a glimpse of another one.

With wildlife encounters, so much comes down to being in the right place at the right time. For quite a while I've contemplated starting to clean out the untidy collection of junk in the barn's upper floor. So about 2:30 last Wednesday, resolving to at last get started on it, I grabbed my work gloves and some trash bags and went up to the barn. It was a pleasant sunny afternoon, nobody home across the road, just the peaceful tunes of birds singing. The hay mow is level with the road and there's a sturdy ramp up to its huge door. It takes a bit of muscle to slide it open along its iron track, and once I'd done so, I stepped inside and began to survey the piles of dusty left-behinds of former residents.

Then came a sudden sound from somewhere up in the woods across the road. What was I hearing? I stepped back out onto the ramp to hear better. At first I thought it was a dog, an odd sort of barking. Then the sound of snapping branches. At once I knew something was running through the woods and was coming straight towards me down the hill. Just seconds later I glimpsed a small animal with a light brown coat racing through the undergrowth. It dodged to the right before reaching the road and was gone from view, its alarmed bleating continuing. Whatever was pursuing it was seconds from appearing. A coyote? A bobcat? In no way was I prepared to see the huge bear that crashed into the open, its mouth open, panting in exertion, its eyes bright with its intent. It wheeled after the little animal, muscles rippling beneath its glossy black pelt, and raced off at a speed that stunned me. Without any time to think, I yelled "HEY!" as loudly as I could to catch the bear's attention and maybe distract it. Perhaps not a wise move, but I was safely on the other side of the road and with the barn to jump into and slam the door if necessary. It was a futile gesture. The bear vanished in the undergrowth, and I stood mute listening to the deadly race play out over what was likely only a couple hundred yards further. The bleating sounds that now I understood were very likely a fawn's, quickly grew more and more feeble, and then it was quiet. A robin began to sing.

I stood shaking with what I'd just seen, realizing that I'd just witnessed Nature that we humans know little of but which goes on every day out of our sight and hearing. Had I perhaps been summoned to witness this, I wondered, Nature in its pure but harsh and unvarnished beauty. I took several deep breaths to slow my jumping pulse. I stared into the green and sunny woods where this frightening scene had just taken place, and then went back inside the barn. There was work waiting there on this June afternoon. 

It wasn't the last upsetting thing that day. Later I had to coax my cat, Angus, to release a catbird fledgling. He did so grudgingly and the little bird hopped off into the ferns near the porch looking okay. Monday's heavy rains and winds apparently had dislodged the two young birds from their nest in the rhododendron. The parent birds continued to feed and try to protect them as they will. I did my level best to help, keeping Angus inside for two days, but neither survived. At least it wasn't his doing.

I had somewhat more control over trying to help the catbird fledglings than the fawn. And I know full well a high percentage of birds and mammals don't make it to adulthood. I've been witness to this so many times elsewhere, but these three deaths were the first for me here in Lightspring Glen. Maybe this offers a balancing out to all the bliss of these six months, the Shadow with the Light. Maybe it's a reality check. Maybe one can be in too much Bliss. An answer may come in time. But there is no doubt that those seconds of mute witness, beholding that deadly chase through the Spring woods, will not fade for a very long time.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Spring Voices at Lightspring Glen

The Fairy Falls at Emerald Pond
This Earth Pilgrim now finds herself in mid-May, the year's Wheel spinning joyfully forward. It's my first Spring here in Lightspring Glen, and oh! what a Season of delightful (delight-full) discoveries everywhere in this wondrous new heart-home.  

With Spring now in earnest unfolding, my woods-walks got me thinking: in addition to the voices of all the wonderful birds, Spring certainly also "sings in greens". Every year at this time of leaf-bud and tender new leaves, the overnight greening of fields and lawns, I go around for days stunned by the infinite shades of green, each one luminous in the sun's strengthening light. It's an amazingly vast palette that delights my eyes and fills my senses. And though I often try, my best writing efforts prove inadequate to offer a fitting description of this visual feast.

It's a water-rich landscape here with the three ponds and marshy areas. So as warmer weather approached, I'd been eagerly anticipating a marvelous chorus of Spring peepers. Possibly my favorite sound of Spring. Oh my, yes! Mild nights in the last weeks have offered fabulous Peeper-concerts often with accompanying deeper voices of their newly-awakened frog cousins. The warmer the night, the more harmonies added. There was a particularly raucous set of frog-singers right here in Hemlock Pond by the house. Then one afternoon, a Great Blue heron happened by along with a kingfisher. Together they made considerable in-roads in that frog population. I was a reluctant witness to their teamwork and tried to bear in mind that Nature has her ways, a Mystery I had to accept :::sigh::: 

Once the snow-melt ended the waterfall's song had become fairly muted. But last week's heavy rain brought it roaring back. So for several days the air was filled with the cascading rush of water tumbling down the falls and down through the Glen. Only the crows' calls could be heard over the silvery din.

And bird song, not counting the crows (!) ...where to begin? Newly returned to the countryside, as with the Peepers, I was eagerly anticipating the Spring calls of returning birds, those that stay and migrants who pass through lingering only a short time. But it was a chilly April and so a slowed arrival for many. At last temps climbed and literally overnight the woods filled with their colors and song! One morning I was wowed by a flock of migrating warblers darting about in the hemlocks like so much confetti, bright yellows, blues, blacks, whites, rusty browns. They've moved on to their summer habitats in the Adirondacks and further north. And while I could go on and on about the birds that are settling in here, for this post a list will suffice: robins, flickers, Song- and chipping sparrows, a pair of hummingbirds, catbirds, orioles, tree swallows, grackles, an amazing number of ovenbirds, and in the deeper woods the shy, enchanting Woods and Hermit thrushes. The "locals" have made room, the chickadees, juncos, Mourning doves, Blue jays, nuthatches, and wood peckers. Birder that I am, I am easily distracted from my "other" work hearing a new voice and rush to catch a glimpse. And just when I thought I couldn't be more thrilled, one morning last week there on the lawn was a pair of Indigo buntings! They didn't even seem too concerned when I went quietly out the kitchen door to capture a photo. They've appeared several times and how marvelous to think they're looking to settle in for the season here at Lightspring Glen.

So with Spring in full and fabulous force, is it any wonder that when people ask how things are at my new place, my response is, "I'm living in Paradise!" 

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Stoking the Green Fire

It is nearly the end of April, and this particular Aries-born person is finding it hard to be patient when chilly weather threatens a comeback as it is today. I'm not alone of course, and even winter-loving folks who had a grand Season to celebrate this year, are more than ready to permanently don sandals and re-stock their sunscreen supplies.

Last night I had the most enchanting dream-visit from a pair of hummingbirds who swooped around my head and then up into the bare tree branches above me. "Oh!! Hello, beautiful Ones!" I called after them. ""Don't go away, we're working on warmer weather soon!" I smiled when I woke up remembering this vision and looked out the bedroom window at the grass rapidly greening from the past week's chilly showers.

What is good about the slow pace that Spring's taking is that if I can just practice patience, every Robin song and every bright daffodil, every swelling bud thrills me. There have been recent Springs when the weather has turned warm so fast that it's passed in a blur and suddenly people were complaining about it being too hot. (grrr! I have absolutely no tolerance when I first hear these complaints!) A recurring dream I once had this time of year was that somehow or other Spring had come and gone and I'd totally missed it. I'm always so sad in the dream and when I wake up.

None of that sadness will be visiting me here, this marvelous first Spring at Lightspring Glen. Everything is a new and delightful experience. I've been thrilled by the appearances of a pair of Wood ducks and then a Mallard pair on the pond, both males sporting the most amazing, colorful plumage. A visit from the grand kids for my mid-April birthday weekend brought hours of fun exploring the woods and ponds on what were two wonderfully warm days.

Those days will soon return and go forward uninterrupted at last. And helping set aside all remaining doubts, just last week I was thrilled to see that the goldfinches are trading in their dull gold winter feathers for their bright and flashy summer attire. I'm sure they're passing the good news on to the hummingbirds over whatever bird-network there is. Time for me to go purchase a hummingbird feeder!

Friday, March 28, 2014

The Bear-facts & Mary Oliver

In my February 7th post I shared stories of my wild neighbors, "Otters & Ravens & Bears (maybe?!)". Well, the question mark can now be edited out of the title. The morning before last I was out for a stroll along the pond's edge when I came upon the "calling card" of some nocturnal visitor. I'll spare you photo-evidence since it was the sizable scat of some clearly sizable animal. And when I took the path past the barn to the upper pond, there was another "deposit". Other than the chance that my neighbor's dog had snuck across the road and that not very likely, my suspicions were quickly aroused. Back inside I fired up my laptop for an internet search of "black bear scat" (750,000 results via Google in 17 seconds...a wonder in itself!). Within a few short minutes I had confirmation that a black bear had most certainly paid Lightspring Glen a visit during the night. How incredible to think that while I slept, such a wonderful creature came by within mere yards of my bedroom window!

Just a few days before I'd received an email with Mary Oliver's poem, "Spring" accompanied by a beautiful photo of a bear. Smitten as I always am with her poetry, I'd been reading the poem aloud to myself and loving the images her words conjured. Perhaps I had manifested this Visit? Just maybe, and that makes me smile all the more.


a black bear
has just risen from sleep
and is staring

down the mountain.
All night
in the brisk and shallow restlessness
of early spring

I think of her,
her four black fists
flicking the gravel,
her tongue

like a red fire
touching the grass,
the cold water.
There is only one question:

how to love this world.
I think of her
like a black and leafy ledge

to sharpen her claws against
the silence 
of the trees.
Whatever else

my life is
with its poems
and its music
and its glass cities,

it is also this dazzling darkness
down the mountain,
breathing and tasting;

all day I think of her --
her white teeth,
her wordlessness,
her perfect love.

~ Mary Oliver ~

Friday, March 21, 2014

In the Flow : Up & Downstream

View from Dragonfly Cottage

Today is the first full day of Spring, extra-marvelous for me as it's my first here at Lightspring Glen. Tomorrow, March 22nd, is the 21st World Water Day, sponsored by the United Nations. Unless you live under a rock (as the expression wryly goes), you know the several crises afflicting the waters of the Earth. Do visit the UN's excellent website to find out not only what's going on this year, but for a comprehensive look at the entire disconcerting issue and learn ways we can all make a difference.

My personal story takes me back to the five previous Springs I welcomed the Vernal Equinox from Dragonfly Cottage perched so wonderfully above the Susquehanna River. Opening the curtains each morning was to be greeted by the day's rising over the wide river flowing directly toward me, almost as if it flowed into the hill, though in truth it took a gentle bend around us in its steady flow down to the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic.

As readers of this blog know, last Fall I made my way upstream an hour's highway travel (perhaps a 2-day strenuous paddle by canoe?!) and further up along Carr Brook, then up Willow Brook, and finally a half-mile or so up a lovely unnamed stream to the ponds, waterfall, and springs here on the seven acres of my forever-home, Lightspring Glen. Up here on this hill we are on the very edge of the Chesapeake Bay's watershed. Just a short walk to the top of the rise and the waters flow off ocean-ward through the Delaware River. As the crystalline waters rise from their springs (not yet certain how many, but at least four) they create three lively brooks clattering downhill over tree roots and stones. Two flow into Upper Pond, its gentle out-flow joining the third brook and all filling Hemlock Pond that's right behind the house. I've joked that even if I'd had to live in a tent, I would have moved here in a heartbeat.

Though I arrived just before Winter Solstice and the rugged months that quickly followed, there were enough mild days for me to explore and experience these enchanted waters weaving their way across the landscape into Hemlock Pond, then merrily splashing over the waterfall and down through the Glen on the long journey to the sea. But this apparently healthy ecosystem has been under siege...there's a super-fund site literally just over the hill. I must admit it gave me pause when I first learned of it, but when research showed that the clean-up was successfully completed over eight years ago and that careful monitoring continues, making this my home was an easy decision. I'll share the details of this environmental degradation in an upcoming blog, "A Tale of Two Streams".

Tomorrow it's my intention to go out to the pond and the waterfall to offer my thanks and prayers to these waters and send blessings on its downstream flow knowing they will be multiplied by the heart-wishes of many others all along the River's course to the mighty Atlantic. I'll be guided by a wonderful ceremony shared on-line this week by the International Council of the 13 Indigenous Grandmothers. [link here] If you are reading this after March 22nd, it will be no less effective or diminished by the passage of time. It is my hope that when you come to this post you'll be encouraged to offer Love and Thanks to Earth's waters at your own special water-place.
Hemlock Pond 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014


Woodland Presence

Two months along in my residence at Lightspring Glen and I still feel more like an honored guest than the mortgage-holder that the Bank says I am. I think this is because it still seems too good to be true to even be here, to have returned at last to my rural roots after five years "in town". As friendly as people were in my suburban neighborhood, and as wonderful as my riverside cottage was, at times it still felt like living in exile from Nature's ready presence in woods and field. I didn't realize how hungry I'd grown to live an elemental, Earth-anchored life again.

Previous posts relate my arrival shortly before Winter Solstice so it's been a pared down and snowy landscape I look out upon each morning. And it's been a challenging Season of deep snows and many days of bitter cold for my wild neighbors. My only help is stocking the bird feeders and wishing all well from behind my thermo-paned windows. Many days my only out-of-doors time is just  that short walk to the feeders and then hurrying back inside rubbing my cold hands together. It still feels a long way off before I can start my woods-exploring and see to rescuing the overgrown flower border. I'm trying not to be too impatient.

Last week brought a brief thaw and a few blessedly warmer days, even rain showers. Driveways at last were freed of their ice and how good it was to go around with lighter coats and jackets. South-facing fields lost some of their snow opening grazing places for the deer. A few days before this warm-up I arrived home as evening was settling in. When I got out of the car, a sound I'd been waiting and hoping for echoed clearly through the dusk. The unmistakable call of a Great-horned owl thrilled me to my toes and I went quickly to the garage's back door, hoping it would call again. Yes! "Who....hoo....hooooo....." spoke the owl and from quite nearby in the hemlocks. "Oh-h-h....." I whispered, shivering in delight. And then another owl answered from the woods across the road! I stood transfixed, eavesdropping on their conversation for as long as I could stand the cold and then retreated reluctantly indoors.

So mating season has begun for these beautiful birds who never let a little cold and snow bother them when it comes to this. On a drive yesterday I cheered to see robins along the road in the bushes, managing despite the gusty winds and blowing snow. And robin-reports are popping up on Facebook (our 21st-century's telegraph), each one greeted with comments of delight and a certain relief. Take heart, the robins are telling us. We are all one day closer to Spring. 

Monday, February 10, 2014

Mary Oliver's love poem for Otter

This admittedly fuzzy photo is the closest I've come to capturing an image of my sleek neighbor whose story I shared in the previous post. You can see her back arched as she readies to dive back into the open water. Once on a walk along the Susquehanna River when I lived at Dragonfly Cottage, I saw one swimming and watched from my hidden viewing spot as s/he climbed out on the bank for a minute or so and then dove back into the water. Not long after this delightful encounter, I chanced upon this wonderful poem of Mary Oliver's of her own interaction with one of these marvelous creatures! I know it will bring a smile and just possibly a chuckle at the end, most especially if you're as much of an Otter Lover as Mary Oliver and me. Enjoy! 

 Almost a Conversation 
Mary Oliver
I have not really, not yet, talked with otter
about his life.

He has so many teeth, he has trouble
with vowels.

Wherefore our understanding
is all body expression —

he swims like the sleekest fish,
he dives and exhales and lifts a trail of bubbles.
Little by little he trusts my eyes
and my curious body sitting on the shore.

Sometimes he comes close.
I admire his whiskers
and his dark fur which I would rather die than wear.

He has no words, still what he tells about his life
is clear.
He does not own a computer.
He imagines the river will last forever.

He does not envy the dry house I live in.
He does not wonder who or what it is that I worship.
He wonders, morning after morning, that the river
is so cold and fresh and alive, and still
I don’t jump in.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Otters & Ravens & Bears (maybe?!) .... Getting to know the Neighbors

Mourning Doves & 4-legged friend
Prior to my arrival in mid-December, for nine years this place was the seasonal home of a Long Island family. So a good deal of the time the yard and woods were the mostly undisturbed home of the wild ones. After the astonishing greeting on my very first visit by a huge owl  (a tale deserving a separate post!), I looked forward to getting acquainted with the other non-human neighbors. It was, after all, their backyard that my small house occupied.

There certainly were deer. Their tracks in the snow showed how busy the place was after dark. During the daytime I caught glimpses of two or three in the woods beyond the pond. Once I put up the bird feeders I saw evidence of their investigating what was left on the ground at the end of the day. It's been a very snowy winter, so I don't mind at all their being the after-dark clean-up crew. Then to my utter delight, very late one afternoon this young one strolled confidently around the corner of the house and began munching away, the mourning doves not a bit bothered by their four-legged competition. When I told my across-the-road neighbor about this he replied with a smile that one of the deer...likely this one...sometimes comes right onto their front porch for bird seed. (click on photos to see each one larger)

A lifelong "bird-er", I was especially eager to find out what birds make this their home. So far the feeders have attracted chickadees (about my favorites), a pair of cardinals, a blue jay gang, a lone junco, gold finches, mourning doves, titmice, and a half-dozen or so tree sparrows who are winter visitors from the Canadian tundra. I've not seen the owl again but am hopeful he or she is still in the neighborhood. Its immense size indicated I was likely welcomed that day by a Great-horned owl. Mating season begins for them soon, so I'm anticipating the thrill of hearing their who-whoo-ing songs on a moonlit night. There are crows of course, passing by all the time on crow-business. Their raven cousins prefer less-civilized areas, and I've been delighted to hear their gravelly voices calling back in the hills and catch glimpses of them on the wing. Last week one perched in a tree by the pond allowing me a good look at its handsome profile, croaked a message, and off s/he went.  

I would have been enchanted enough with all of these, but another magical encounter awaited. Lightspring Glen's seven acres encompass two small ponds, three streams, a waterfall, and several springs above the upper pond. One frigid January day I just happened to be looking out at the pond when I spotted a small animal dashing along the farther edge. Odd that a squirrel's out on a sub-zero day, I thought. Fortunately my gaze lingered since it came into clearer view and I gasped to be see it was an otter! I was so thrilled and a day or two later found its tracks on the ponds' ice, so clearly she/he/they lived nearby. As the cold deepened, the pond froze over nearly completely except for a center spot where the streams' incoming currents keep it open. And then a second fortunate sighting of the otter going in and out of this open water catching small fish, and this time s/he was there for nearly fifteen minutes. I couldn't resist the urge to try for a picture and went out to the garage door with my camera. Angus tagged along and when he caught sight of this creature bounding along on the ice, he dashed down to the pond for a closer look. The otter spotted Angus and clearly was also curious about this "unusual" creature. I captured a moment of their staring at each other across the ice.
Close encounters of the furry kind

Angus got up his nerve to pad across the ice to the open water (me praying he wouldn't fall in)...the otter dove in, popped up at a small opening near the waterfall, and dashed to its burrow. So they've taken each others measure, and who knows, maybe next time they'll touch noses.

Bears? If they're here, they're hibernating soundly (and wisely) through this old-fashioned winter's cold and snow. So I'll just have to wait and see what Spring brings. But my sense is that more intriguing encounters are in store for Angus and me. Oh my! :-)

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Path Leads On.....2014's New Vistas

First Light, 16th December 2013

    When I composed and uploaded my last Earth Pilgrim post way-y back last June, I had absolutely no idea of the approaching curve in my Path that would find me in late September bidding farewell to my much-loved Dragonfly Cottage and lead me here to Lightspring Glen by Winter Solstice.  This new part of the journey would be very much a roller-coaster and stretch over several months before I could finally step off its wild ride and onto the sweet land that is now my home in Sidney Center, New York.  I would have fine and interesting company along the way with the surprising number of folks who aid and abet the process of searching for a new home and then help (or at least appear to help :-) ) hopeful new-home owners like me make their way through the maze of the purchase process.  (As I recall this now, the Carnival Analogy fits quite well!) 

     It is now a full month since taking up residence, a whole lunar cycle with the Cancer Full Moon coming our way at dusk today.  After the long-awaited closing on the 11th of December [11:12:13], the Season's first major snow storm nearly canceled my plans to move in at once.  But thanks to the fabulous help of my new neighbors who pitched in with the hauling and toting and who also plowed the 10 inches of snow from the driveway, on the night of the 15th I climbed under the bed covers, turned off the light, and gazed out in awe at the moonlight playing softly on the snow of my incredible new back yard.  I was simply too excited to fall asleep for a long while, but exhaustion finally took over.  When I woke in the morning, it turned out this Dream was solid, gleeful reality.  The thermometer hovered near 10 degrees when I stepped outside with my camera to capture the image of the day's first light beginning to fill the hemlock woods beyond the pond.   

    Long ago on another Winter's night when I was more a poet than any other sort of writer, a poem came to me.  Its opening couplet sounded itself confidently in my inner ear, "The Path leads on, I must depart / To hidden places of the Heart"

    And so it does lead on, this beautiful Path that is my life.  More stories will follow as I take my first steps into this indescribably beautiful landscape and into this New Year.  Time and spirit willing, I look forward to your company.

On the path to the upper pond