Bodie Island has always been my "go to" place to welcome in the new year, but with sorely neglected trails, due to lack of funding I'm guessing, making them impassable, I decided to head to a new flirtation, Sandy Run Park. This year the weather has been so unpredictable I didn't wait for New Year's Day but took advantage of a clear afternoon and one son agreeing to accompany me on a short foray on Christmas Eve. And on New Year's Eve I was lured back knowing that New Year's Day would be spitting raindrops.
The empty boardwalk echoed with our footsteps in the winter-whisper quiet. Even the few people we encountered nodded and passed in a hush, lost in their own reflections and hopes. The Yellow Bellied Sliders and Painted Turtles no longer crowded the water near the walkway waiting for handfuls of popcorn or cereal or bread. They have muddied down, spending their days and nights dreaming of spring and turtle love. Hiding places in snags and fallen logs now appear with no illusions, stripped bare and exposed, open to the raw winds now that the surrounding foliage has lost its grip and plunged to the ground. Two pairs of Mallards found safety on the back pond, hiding from the duck hunters that now work the marshes.
I saw very little in the way of feathers, fur or scales besides the ducks and an occasional hawk overhead. But by using all my senses I could detect life all around me. I could feel small creatures watching and waiting for me to pass by, and I heard rustling in the grasses. Enormous circles appeared in the still water where something had splashed, and shadows flitted in and out of the tightly packed trees. Everyone is still here. They are just being quiet and reflective, like me.
"One regret, dear world, that I am determined not to have when I am lying on my deathbed is that I did not kiss you enough." - Hafiz