>A Walk in the Woods

And I’m not talking about Bill Bryson. It is clear that the highlight of Bhikku’s day is our walk in the woods behind my house. I’ve been working at clearing a trail–cutting through bramble that clogs the creek banks, mostly–so we can do a circuit. Eventually I’ll expand the path to include one or more footbridges across the creek, too. But Bhikku doesn’t care why we go. He just wants to go. We first head out into the back yard and, if it is our customary time just before sunset, he heads to the stock gate that opens into the pasture. He looks at me expectantly, to see if in fact that’s where we’re headed. I open the gate and he takes off ten yards or so, then looks back to see if I’m following.

We have a couple of choices on the walk, but last night we went downhill toward the creek. This route was probably a cowpath in the days–not that long ago–when cattle grazed here. Since we’ve lived on the property it has apparently been a game trail, since we tend to follow the depressions in the grass that the deer have made. No sooner did we start down than Bhikku raced ahead, apparently having caught some scent. He got near the bottom and then turned sharply uphill under the bramble. I heard a deer crashing through the leaves ahead of him, and another below me, at the water’s edge. That one I caught a glimpse of, already a wintry shade of grade instead of the cappucino color they’ve had all summer.

Then we spent an hour or so cutting away the thorny wild rose bushes and connecting to a path we’d already cleared. There’s only one sticky section left now, and then it will be time to design the bridges. Should have studied engineering, I think.

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