The trails loop around and crisscross in the woods above Rowlett Creek. I was trying not to follow the young couple on the trail. First spotted them as they were having such fun balancing like gymnasts on the big fallen log that blocks the trail. I struggle just to get up and over the log each hike, praying not to break my hip. I instinctively like the pair, as they seemed to be good friends, not just hormonal adolescents. I miss having teen sons and their good friends gathered around my dining table.
The second time our paths cross, the couple was studying something in the tall grass. They excitedly waved me over to see their find, a very big orb spider. They were trying to take a cell phone photo without disturbing the web or getting into the weeds. Sensible young spider enthusiasts!
"I feel like I'm cheating," I told them. "I hike these trails looking for spider moments. You found the spider, not me." They finished their photo shoot then told me, "She's all yours now."
Third time we met I thanked the teen couple for sharing their spider and followed them on the shortcut out of the woods and back to the pond. Then they headed left to be hormonal adolescents, polite but glad to be rid of my chaperoning. I headed right looking for a great blue heron.
Bumbling along taking photos of dried seed heads and cattails, I met an older cyclist paused and staring at the empty fishing pontoon pier. He waved me over to see what he saw. What the hey-ho?!! A big dang water snake was writhing and slithering on the pier. It was at least as big around as a toilet paper tube. I can speak with some authority here, having spent part of my day with the preschoolers making festive Thanksgiving napkin rings using toilet paper tubes and gold tempera paint. It was a seriously goose-bump inducing snake, but the older cyclist was cute in a mature nature-watching way. The snake slid off the edge of the pier back into the pond. The moment was over, just a pushpin on the Geography of Bliss trail map.
© 2011 Nancy L. Ruder