Most days I go for a ramble around Farm Dover. Ed normally chooses to hold down the fort (i.e., read or work crossword puzzles) while I take my hike.
I pull on a jacket, bright orange sock hat and boots, grab my camera, and take off in search of who knows what. I know it when I see it, and will make an excited and full report back to Ed upon my return.
For the past two weeks I've had a partner to go with me most days. Jack was home for the holidays from his studies in Berlin and, except for a couple of cold and windy days, was a willing participant in my ramblings. Jack brings fresh eyes to my walks; he points out trees that I've failed to notice, abandoned bird nests, a tangle of poison ivy vines that are reminiscent of Medusa's hair, a bald eagle! gliding over our neighbor's barn, a flock of sand hill cranes circling our other neighbor's pond.
He lends me his hand as we jump across the creek, or make our way along the slippery bank. He is happy to pause while I take a photo or stop to tie my boot lace. He offers to carry the mail back in the string bag.
Along the way, we make our inspections: looking for deer rubbings on tender trees, mole hills that crisscross our paths, animal tracks in the path edges, cloud formations, invasive multi flora roses, woodpeckers high in the trees, nuthatches pecking their way up trunks, cardinals and sparrows hopping among the tall grasses and dead flower heads, galls and fungus on trees. He is a good observer, a knowledgeable outdoor enthusiast, and a pleasant conversationalist.
He leaves tomorrow morning. I'm going to miss walking with him.
Godspeed, Jack. Hope 2017 is good to you. Come back soon.
Your mama loves you.