The partly cloudy day became totally overcast, it was as if it was Twilight during my hike. The lightening storms yesterday had been very violent so many of the smaller birds and mammals were in hiding. The Promenade to the Carriage Road was very quiet, with only the occasional pip. I could not imagine how frightening the lightening must have been to those who live in the park. I looked up to see a tiny bird flitting around in the evergreen above me, it was a Yellow-Rumped Warbler, a joy to see it’s tiny beak.
As I headed up the Dead Chief Trail I realized that there was a bit more green on the trail. The dark skies has made the green standout, showing me what I had missed in the bright sun. As I move up the trail my shadow, a Red Bellied Woodpecker taunted me from the top of a pine tree. Moving up the trail a lovely Carolina Chickadee lands briefly and a sweet White Throated Sparrow pokes it’s head up from the leaves.
As I switch over to the Short Cut Trail I can see the silhouette of my traveling companion a Red Bellied Woodpecker high in a Tree to my right. Further up the trail a White Throated Sparrow is hiding in vines that resemble a cage. Everywhere I look lichen is painting the landscape with textures of green, white, gray and yellow. The Trees and Rocks all appear to be a viable canvas for it’s art.
Up top the small birds are still few in numbers and the sky is taking on a darker cast. The view from the Pagoda reveals a stormy sky over the valley below. As I drop down to the Hot Springs Mountain Trail I notice tiny white Wildflowers are about to burst open. The next few sunny days will be a spectacular show of the little blossoms.
The Hot Springs Mountain Trail is a series of treasures being unwrapped before me. A sweet little Orange-Crowned Warbler flew in and out within seconds. The woods around me seemed to be changing with each step I take, an unveiling of new growth. In forest below me a gray Squirrel sat quietly nibbling on a snack, and in a tree rising above him I see only it;s silhouette, then slowly the shape of a squirrel revealed itself to my eyes.
As I hike sadly in the highest trees I see a bunch of balloons tangled in the limbs. The logo of RAC (Rent-A-Center) stamped on each one, these had travel to pollute the park all the way from Airport Way. My heart sinks at the thought of the harm the dangling strings and rubber will likely cause to the gentle creatures of Hots Springs Mountain. I wondered if RAC knew the damage their run-away balloons were bringing to the park.
The trail continued to be a colorful feast for the eyes. Lichen and Fungus decorated the forest in an exquisite array of hues, they were beautifully accented by delicate ferns and mosses. When I reached the Honeysuckle Trail I was delighted to see magnificent rocks in all shapes and sizes adding to the colorful spectacle in the forest. I stopped every few feet to photograph a new one.
As I reach home I was cold but happy to have been a guest in Nature’s home for the entire morning.
In twilight the colors of the earth touched my heart.
Live with Love everyday… and learn to play.