Reflections, Mid-September

It was the Saturday of the first home Penn State football game, and the local Boy Scout troop sells hoagies on home game days. Italian or turkey for $7, wrapped to travel. They start at 7 a.m. and sell until they sell out, which can happen as early as 8:30. So my husband and I hopped in the car around 8 a.m. and drove over to buy a pair of hoagies.

Success! He put the hoagies in the cooler, dropped me off at Mahala Street, and I walked my way home through the Scotia Barrens. It's a several-mile hike, a bit longer than my daily walk usually is, but I really enjoy it. It's soul-cleansing, really, to spend any time at all in beautiful Nature, and we have so much of it right around our house. I'm glad we live where we live; I can walk to places like this.

The light didn't really hit the woods until about a half-hour into my hike. The morning was cool and initially, the bugs were pretty much nonexistent, which is a plus. I've had my share of bug bites lately; pretty much everywhere we go, in fact. I must be sweet; bugs love the taste of me. I was hungry so I ate a snack bar and drank some water. T. Tiger admired the colorful fungi.

And then the light came, and since it was Saturday morning, everybody else was out walking too. Everybody and their dog, to be specific. I ran into about a half-dozen people, each with a very well behaved and restrained (thank you so much!) poochie. I always step several feet OFF the trail when someone approaches, bid the owner a pleasant greeting, and offer a sweet "Hello, Poochie!" for the dog.

We've had enough rain lately that all of the gameland ponds are full up and they look amazing. I stopped at one of the bigger ones, and instantly, the mosquitoes gathered all around my head, looking for an opportunity to get their morning snack, courtesy of me.

I heard a huge, loud, "YEEP!" as I got there. It almost sounded like a tiny scream. That's the sound of a frog jumping into the pond. They can be quite loud and startling! So I watched the spot where it jumped, hoping to see it again. I saw the water roil and move. A large whip of - something? - under the water. Who's there?

And then finally, a shape, moving toward me. Me - holding the camera, holding my breath. And what was it that popped up? Was it a head? A turtle head maybe? Or Leviathan who lives beneath these dark waters? I snapped some photos. All I got was a picture of the bubble it left on the surface in its wake! So I can tell you something lives beneath the waters, but I can't tell you what!

And finally, I was at the one that is probably my favorite go-to pond, which is the pond in the photo above. I saw creatures hop in as I got there. Why is it you only see the frog AFTER it starts to jump? Not a single photo of an amphibian did I get, but here is a picture of reflections on a gameland pond in mid-September. The trees are green but some yellow leaves have fallen. The change is coming. It has begun!

Here is my song for a little walk on the wild side: Lou Reed, with Walk on the Wild Side.

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