Ambling along the sidewalk by the river valley, hidden from view by the snowbanks lining the walk, my dog and I came upon a short-legged, shaggy animal with a big round body, somewhat larger than a large domestic cat.
It seemed to be a uniform dark colour. Its tail was flat and angled down toward the ground from its body. The tail was about half to two-thirds the length a cat’s would be, relative to the body size.
Although it rolled from side to side in quick, waddling steps, it progressed slowly down the path – clearly not an animal that relies on speed.
Skunk tracks had criss-crossed the neighbourhood last week, so that was my first thought, but its tail and markings were different from a skunk’s. The tail wasn’t fluffy and there were no tell-tale white markings on its back or tail.
I think it was a porcupine, or possibly a woodchuck, newly emerged from hibernation. Maybe a young one, given its size.
I kept our distance, since my dog was along, so we didn’t get close enough to confirm.
Now the ends of the daylight reach to meet the ends of my day – light for the morning dog walk and light over the valley returning home in the evening. Always a milestone in my year. The light highlighting wisps of morning cloud is all the more beautiful after weeks of dark-sky morning walks.
This morning serenaded by two owls calling back and forth with each other. Has gone on for some time and continues now. Coming from the direction of the park where the owl took up residence this past summer. Never heard anything like this before.
Saw the merest wisp of the sickle crone moon low in the sunrise-pink sky around 8 this morning – crescent so delicate it could melt away in a moment; just a glimpse of her back as she slips out the door.
The sun still had a ways to climb before breaking the horizon on this solstice weekend.
Moon and sun meeting at the darkest end of their cycles.
A perfect weekend to enjoy the gifts of the darkness – healing rest, quiet contemplation, stillness – a peacefully introspective time.
Chickadees out in full force this calm, snowy morning, two nights and one day into this heavy snowfall.
A mystery bird came to the oak trunk and clung upside down there, closely followed by a female Downy Woodpecker with its smart black and white back.
The mystery bird is about twice the size of the chickadees, a little smaller than the woodpecker. Bigger than the nuthatches that frequent this area. Creamy buff breast and darker, greyish back. Shaped like a nuthatch or woodpecker with their short stubby tails.
The Downy meandered up the ant-sheltering oak trunk for a while, hunting, while the mystery bird just hung out, upside down, sheltering on the leeward side of the trunk.
A passing chickadee stopped at the tree and watched the woodpecker hopefully for a while.
My dog and I met a large coyote trotting down a back alley this morning, half a block from the river valley drive. My dog was eager to meet it, so I was relieved when it shyly detoured up into a driveway to avoid us. I’m surprised I don’t see them more often, this close to the valley.
A wonderful moon! Gateway to Autumn, easing us in slowly, deliciously…
It began with the first inklings of summer’s end:
Two bright yellow jewels in the green grass – the first fallen leaves.
Six geese making their pilgrim way across dusk-darkening sky at 9pm.
It shines brightly now on comfortably cool nighttimes; darkness falling ever-earlier.
Mornings are moonless at this time: sunrise presides over crisp morning walks,
under bright clear skies trailing high clouds that capture ever-shifting colours.
Elm trees presenting a single, stark, yellow-clustered branch among the summer-green.
And it will end with the autumnal equinox, ushering out Summer.