Yesterday, when I went outside, I found nearly everything clouded up in fog and the trees were hailing, shedding thawed lumps of frozen dew to fall like rain with an icy filling. The humidity was nearly 100% and I suppose the thick dew had condensed on the branches and frozen overnight. Now the very tops of the trees were in sunshine and there were tiny localized showers under just the tallest of the trees – like stereophonic rainstorms, the sound came from only some places and not others, giving an eerie feeling to the shortest stroll. I decided to escape the fog and head out to the logging road where I could gain some altitude and get some sunshine before my movie (this would result, as any who know me well might suspect, in my being too late to see the showing I had planned, but it was worth it – one of the pleasures of being alone is that you can change your plans and not feel as though you have failed or that someone else will be disappointed.) I protected my camera from the wet branches and dripping trees in a makeshift camera bag (plastic, grocery), and set off, maneuvering my shoes on nearly one-handed (as I type this as well – injured my wrist). The trail we blazed last year was surprisingly passable, and I was nearly out of the fog by the time I hit the main trail. It’s amazing how much the logging road has closed up over the last decade. It seems a bit of a shock (although not as much as I was to have shortly) to not be able to spot the old spot of the slash pile that was for a time a fine black raspberry patch. I remember noting it the first year, relishing sharing it for years to come with the bears. Little did I realize what a temporary and fleeting thing each years plants are on a clear-cut, as one species flourishes for a season or two or three and then is overshadowed and overtaken by another. There were many things I took for granted that year that are gone now. Thinking about it makes me melancholy – I’m not ready for the new look of the overgrown trail maybe because I’ve failed to stay in touch – illness, divorce, my job… The twins and I don’t share the same connection with this trail as Robin and I once did, and even we don’t have the same connection we once did, either. I look forward to the less changeable view from the valley overlook at the edge of the logging road just as it turns into the untouched part of the forest. But I’ll not find that spot on this trip.
When I reach the main logging road that curves all the way down to my left the 700 or 800 feet of elevation to the road on the other side of the hill from my house, I am in the sunshine, glorious sunshine, and I see that it has been covered anew with fresh rock, gray and black. To my right lies a shocking sight – new cutting. The fog brings the same beautiful depth to the upper hills as it always does, but the foreground is now a jumble of slash pile and stumps and bark and soil.
I’m saddened a bit, but in a way it feels like a renewal, a chance to start over – even though I actually arrived years after the last cut of the land behind my house, it feels like a new beginning. (This seems nonsensical, but it is so.) I don’t really know what to think – I don’t find our favorite overlook, instead I take a few pictures from just inside the scarred area, and head back to drive into down for some books (essays, thriller, the letters of E. B. White), some dinner (Thai – green curry) and a movie
It’s Sunday now, the brink of midday, and I hurriedly type this out. I want to go back out, but I know that if I don’t write this now, I’ll never write it because I’ll have new thoughts after going out again. It’s warm and sunny out there this morning – the inversion that trapped the fog yesterday has brought its warmth all the way down to ground level now – 61 degrees outside, scarcely cold enough to warrant a coat. There are terrific gusts of wind though, so I’ll wear one, and a hat, too. Probably I’ll return with a different sense of things.