With hopeful visions of walking in England next year in mind, my wife and I are also being realistic—we’ve got some work to do between now and then if we’re going to be sufficiently fit to complete the Cumbria Way, at 75 miles, and a second, undetermined route afterwards. For starters, we’ve re-upped at the local gym—neither of us are going to run/walk/jog in the rain—and we’re putting in time on a pleasurable three+ mile loop around our rural neighborhood.
We’ve done this walk many, many times over the years, in every variety of weather, and today featured a tart late-summer morning—pale blue sky, edgy white clouds, deep shadows in the woods. I’d taken our small Canon G10 camera along to see if something new might catch my eye (a plausible excuse for a time out) and was going to be skunked in that effort until I passed The Swing.
It’s on the back side of the walk, and I never stride by without a hard, contemplative look. There are houses and a barn in the distance, skinny metal fence posts and at least one power pole, all conspiring to ruin the background. I wanted a clean picture, like Rockwell might have painted. Past shots fell under the Delete key, but today— well, today was my day. The grasses shimmered around the tire while the oak appeared vibrant and subtle all at once, and nothing leapt out in distraction.
After a cool drink back at the house I took a hand saw into the yard and pruned several low-hanging dead branches from the oak trees. I then scattered these in a small area and waited—I knew the blacktail deer wouldn’t be able to resist the delicious moss covering those branches, and being a friendly group this year they might
ignore me offer the opportunity for a photo. A few minutes after I’d placed their treat they appeared, capping a delightful day during this last week of summer.