There’s a trail close to home that I hike occasionally when I want to go five miles or so in peace. It’s not the most beautiful in the Hocking Hills but it is one of the lesser frequented by tourists while still being close to the visitors center for parking and amenities.
Along the way, there are things that I always look for. There’s one spot with a large population of squirrels and another area where I typically see deer.
A nice lake sometimes presents photo ops of people fishing or relaxing along the water’s edge. I always pause for a picture of an old boat along the shore. It’s been there for years and I have a ton of pictures to prove it.
It was gone yesterday.
I can’t recall the last time I hiked this particular trail and have no way of knowing how long it’s been gone or where it went.
It was sort of a shock to see an empty shoreline and I was at a loss for what to do when there was no boat to photograph.
Luckily, there was a distraction – a gaggle of Canada Geese basking in the sunshine and gleefully swimming across the lake. They would dive under the surface, coming up to shake off the water and sometimes spray it up in the air. Then, mysteriously and with no warning they all would simultaneously start to take flight, only to skim along the water before settling back into the lake to repeat the process.
The way the sun illuminated the sprays of water was spectacular.
The scene unfolded too far away for my phone camera so there consequently are no photos to share with you. I badly wished for the camera left at home but carry with me memories of those magical moments while a dozen or more geese bathed in the light of this unseasonably warm December day.
The sun began to fade and the wind picked up as I walked away. Rain moved into the area within the hour so I felt fortunate to have witnessed their carefree morning on the lake.
Since then I’ve been ruminating on change and loss. It would have been easy to fixate on the patch of grass where the boat once rested but then I would have missed the mysterious show happening just across the lake.
And what fun is that?