The woods are alive with rain-drenched
leaves, softening steps on today's hiking
trail, a nature voyeur with camera and
binoculars. Got up early, washed, then drove
down a quiet Alberta road, composed of oil
blending with rock, like a black snake
humped in a straight line far ahead.
Parked, got out. Shoulders back, fingers
clenched in pockets for warmth, foot
forward, hat-pressed tightly for warmth;
now into the woods. If only the trail was
dry, feet could ease across the soft ground,
heel not pounding on hardened surface, but
oh well. Satisfied now? Yes.
My route passes by a slough of murky
water, good for ducks, dozens of them as
they feather in flight, no time for bonding
right now, only for scooting on by. Oh for a
dip in that pond, to feel coolness on tired
feet, wetness against my backside, should be
But I'm not a canvasback comfortable in the
slough with feathers probably itchy, need a
good washing. My feet press forward, lift
and up and on, like a moose. If I were a
duck I'd nibble on those protruding weeds,
maybe ambush a bug or two.
Or, perhaps dive amidst the flotsam gathered
below the surface. But thankfully I'm not a
Teal or a Mallard with greenish tinge show-
casing my softness below a furry looking
head. French fries, burgers or even a slice of
watermelon is more to my appetite.
Ahead is an outline of pole-fences, a marker
for home distance not so far away, where
comfort awaits, a blend of coffee with two
eggs, sunny side up, perhaps a slice or two
of bacon. The trail finally ends, a circle of
hiking complete, car parked in the shade. If
I'm lucky, a side order of Dexter steak will
add joy to my inside view.
© Richard L. Provencher