Friday, February 12, 2010

Under Cover of Rain

I worked outside in a light drizzle most of the day. It's been raining every few days so I keep rotating between raincoats, and with my amazing boot dryer, I start each morning with toasty toes. Today, I even switched hats midday to keep my noggin dry and warm. If you dress right and there is no wind, it's pleasant and personal to travel among the mossy trees in the rain.

The saturated soil is slipping and clumping down in little piles at the bottom of hillsides and roadcuts. On Sunday, we heard a gurgling noise from above the barn. Fearing the start of a landslide, I walked up the hill to find water bubbling out of the slope. On further inspection, I realized the rains had activated a hidden spring and water was running down an old set of buried pipes to the orchard. It formed a musical fountain where it escaped a rusty section. Trees usually found on dry terrain, are reflected in unexpected mini-ponds at their bases. The earthworms leave their flooded holes and commute down wet trails.

While crossing a small creek, I realized the large swollen worm in a pool was actually a washed and tangled intestine. Seems that a mountain lion must have been feeding upstream. Mountain lions usually pull the guts out of their prey and set them in a neat pile alongside the carcass before they feed on the remaining flesh. In this dense forest, the carcass could be anywhere on the sodden slopes and the guts must have rolled into the stream.

During a brief break in today's rain, the robins puffed themselves up on bush tops and the raptors took short patrols. The deer and rabbits were out browsing midday on the forest edge as if it was dusk. A coyote came out to yap on the top of a hill where he could get a nice echo.

Under the cover of rain, we get the chance to move among the wildlife as if it is night and we are hidden. Maybe we are camouflaged by our muddy clothes. Maybe wildlife have no fear of humans who wander outside in the rain.

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