Monday, October 19, 2015

Once upon a time...

The weekend was a fairy-tale.  It really doesn’t take much to make me happy – I’m lucky like that.  I slept in late two mornings in a row with Gracie, took my kayak out, went for a long hike, watched The Walking Dead, and baked a cake.  It was but a brief fairytale, however.  The ever-after didn’t happen.  Monday draped its ugly blanket of despair over my world as all good things come to an end. 
Dogs are wonderful.  My dog, although two of my daughters will disagree (probably because they are jealous), is the best dog on earth (for me anyway).  She prefers to stay in the house in the mornings when I go off to work.  I say good-bye to her, give her one last scratch on her head, then make my way to the car.  This is what I see every morning when I’m backing my car out of the driveway.  She always runs to the window and watches me go.

Sweet Gracie

For the first time, I took my kayak to Clifty Creek, a stream that feeds into Grayson Lake in Carter County, Kentucky.  Grayson is by far my favorite place to hike and kayak, but it’s about a 50-minute drive.  With nothing else scheduled for Saturday, I loaded up and made the drive.  It was a phenomenal adventure.  A fabulous day, and next to nobody out there at all, I paddled for nearly 90 minutes in the direction away from the main lake.  It was windy, so it was hard work, but such a beautiful place with all the cliffs and trees beginning to change color.  On the return trip, I came around a bend and saw a heron wading.  I froze.  He saw me and gave me a good stare down, but I stayed completely motionless – not even a blink.  Finally, he went back to business.  He was walking the shoreline looking for dinner, no doubt hoping for fish, but also inspecting the weeds along the edge perhaps hoping a frog or snake would present itself.  Step by step, very slowly and deliberately he searched.  I pulled out my phone and took a video, hoping he would catch something, but he didn’t find anything and I finally drifted out of range.

The water slaps the rocks making interesting sounds

It's neat to see how the trees grow right to the edges of the cliffs

Saturday evening, I made a large pot of spaghetti sauce and baked a cake.  I am working out of town this week, so Someone will eat spaghetti a few times and appreciate the cake.  If only it were that easy to keep Gracie happy when I’m gone.  She will not eat for days and will refuse to come inside the house.  After a few nights, Someone will bribe her with cheese and get her to come in – even so, she will sleep against the door to the outside and not take her usual place at the foot of our bed.  She is not herself when I am away.  Poor baby, but she bounces back quickly when I come back.
On Sunday, after a nice morning of lounging in bed with my iPad and sweet dog, I did my teacherly-duties: answering emails, posting announcements, and assigning work for all my classes.  It’s nearly time to make a video again – University #2 expects me to post at least one personalized video per session.  Some things are better left to the imagination (in my opinion), but I will comply and video myself rambling on with some sort of reminders.  Only a handful of students will watch it anyway. 

Sunday was cooler than Saturday, but still a sunny, spectacular day.  Someone and I took Gracie to Greenbo Lake State Park and hiked some of the Michael Tygart trail.  It’s a lovely trail – it follows the shoreline of the lake in some places, and then takes you back away from the lake through some flatter ground and very old abandoned log cabins.  We did not hike far enough to see the cabins, but I hope to do that someday.  It’s a lot of uphill and downhill in places, but the scenery is worth it.  Also there are many tree roots and rocks to watch out for.  It will not be a good walk when more leaves are down – we would be tripping all over ourselves and a fall could result in a long tumble down into the lake.  According to my Fitbit, we walked a little more than 3.7 miles before turning around.  We saw many deer and squirrels, but also a great heron, at least twice the size of the one I saw the day before. It was sitting on top of a pine tree that had uprooted and was laying over the water.  

Greenbo Lake as seen from Michael Tygart Trail

sapphire October sky 

I am leaving my job before long.  That makes things a little more tolerable.  Tomorrow, I head back to Louisiana for meetings.  If I had more time, I’d drive into New Orleans and visit the French Quarter again.  Alas, there is no time for anything but work on this trip.  It’s OK.  Two to three months from now…a new life for me.  The real fairy tale begins.