September 22, 2020

Fort Meadows Reservoir through the fog.


The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.

-Dolly Parton


It’s raining…  Again.  Not much, mind you, just a sprinkle.  Instead of roaring down in splatters, it’s tickling the leaves, making them chatter like a bowl full of Rice Krispies in milk.  Not even enough to get either Waldo or me noticeably wet.  I start out our morning walk wearing my rain suit because the forecast is for worse.  But it isn’t long before I’m getting wetter from the sweat I generate and can’t evaporate than I am from the water in the air.  The jacket comes off.  The pants stay on because it’s such a pain pulling them over my walking shoes.  The temperature is in the mid-sixties with a light breeze and I feel a little cooler.

We come to the meadow over which we can see the Fort Meadows Reservoir.  A duvet of grey fog looms thick just beyond the houses on the far shore.  No fishermen in their small dinghies are out today.  I can see the roof of the Bolton Street Tavern, which is open again, with restrictions, but no one is parked in the lot this time of day.  I can see and hear traffic on the streets that run along and through the reservoir, but the traffic is light and the sound seems muted.

The birds still chirp, but they seem to be more subdued, huddled, no doubt, in whatever shelter serves them as their lair.  In my mind’s eye, I see them shake their feathers until puffed out, settle on warm bellies and retract heads so that only beaks and eyes show.  The leaves in the trees where they nest will provide them with Swiss cheese roofs and the natural ability of feathers to roll water off without dampening the skin underneath should keep them dry – as long as they stay put, huddled at home.  I understand the sentiment, but ignore it.

During the late fall to early spring, the land bordering the rail-trail is all well-rooted dormant sticks pointing skyward.  The tan-grey Earth, covered by orange-tan dead leaves and hibernating yellowed grass, is exposed, when not buried in snow, and Mother Nature can be seen in her underwear.  The trees are skeletal and you can easily see through them to the environs beyond.  You could, if the mood struck you, draw an approximate topographic map from what you can see.  Now, in the late summer, especially after a good rain, the trail is wrapped in undergrowth, a green fluffy boa sporting red, purple and bright yellow flowers.  The prima-donna trees are all decked out in their leafy finery and obscure what lies beyond, as if to say, “You need not look any further.  What’s important and beautiful in life is here before your eyes.”  Today, the green seems eager to catch the water as it falls from the clouds and pass it on to the ground where roots can drink it in and stir the life-force that generates even more luscious green.

There are a few acorns, black walnut fruits and other seeds lying on the tarmac that have been strewn there by the heavy winds that accompanied other recent storms.  This time of year, they are small and immature, loosed prematurely from their tenuous grip on the nascent tendrils that attached them to their progenitors.  It won’t be many weeks from now and there will be more – mature, large and prodigious.  Many, as big as green tennis balls, will lie on the trail under the walnut trees.  There, in Waldo’s ball court, the two of us will be playing at chase the walnut fruit as we walk along.  Today, the tiny fruit just tease us for things to come.  Any fruit I kick down the path, Waldo looks at and ignores.  They aren’t tempting enough yet to go after.

The rain, although barely worth mentioning, has apparently convinced the squirrels, rabbits, chipmunks and other critters to stay in their burrows and nooks and crannies.  Come on, guys!  Come on out and play!  It’s not as if you’re going to melt because you get a little wet.  Waldo is at the end of the leash, nose pointed to the front, walking briskly.  I don’t see him doing much exploring with his nose or any of his other sense organs.  He’s just walking.

But me, I’m trying to take it all in.


Fort Meadows Reservoir at dawn on a clear day.

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