Sun showers and forest baths

I was planning a return to Como Lake last weekend to see how our young eagle was coming along. But then I got distracted by the sunrise.

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As I passed the Gibbs Farm Museum I couldn’t help wondering how many spectacular sunrises Jane DeBow Gibbs had watched from this same spot some 170 years ago.

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The goats were out, so I went over to say hello. Mom and dad came over first and demanded a vigorous petting before allowing the youngsters to approach me.

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Only when I was completely covered in snot and goat hair did I notice the sign: “Please do not feed or touch the animals.” I had just touched ALL OF THE ANIMALS.

[Intermission: In which yours truly flees the scene, wiping goat snot on her hair-covered jeans in a vain attempt to hide the evidence of having touched ALL OF THE ANIMALS.]

In the small marsh a little further down the road, the red-winged blackbirds were out in full force. I wondered whether a male’s virility is reflected in part by the height of his perch.

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Or maybe they just enjoy trying to stay upright on the brittle, swaying reeds

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I also noticed the blades of grass (as one does). They looked like they had been showered in sunlight.

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Fast-forward to this weekend, when I once again intended a return to Como Lake. But this time I was thwarted by acute hypersomnolence, so instead I went for a forest bath in the woods near my house.

The dappled light filtering through the leaves was delicious.

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But a good ways down the path a strange noise gave me pause. It sounded larger than a squirrel, and it seemed to be coming from the canopy. Was it an injured red-tailed hawk?

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Just then, the animal righted itself and glared at me, as if to shame me for my intrusion.

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It was an owlet! And I was witnessing perhaps its first day of flight school — which, frankly, wasn’t going too well.

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I left it to the watchful eyes of its mom and sibling … and when I came back this evening to check on the wobbly youngster they were all gone.

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But that’s OK. Soon he will be gliding like a whisper through the woods. And even if I can’t hear him, I’ll know he’s up there somewhere above the canopy of green.

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132 comments

  1. The photos are quite beautiful. The sunset reminded me of a poem I wrote recently about sunsets. Did you ever get around to visiting como lake?

    • How wonderful that the sunset photo echoed your own work, Rachael! Though no, I never did get back to Como Lake. Maybe next weekend, barring the unforeseen fuzzy or sunny distraction. 🙂 Thank you so much for stopping by, and for your kind words (as always).

    • I do have a bad habit of turning the whole world into a petting zoo. 😉 Glad you enjoyed the post — just as I enjoyed your comment! Thank you for stopping by.

        • Ah, I don’t know … sometimes the baby animals are so cute that they draw me like a magnet and I forget all about being shy. Maybe that would happen to you too if there were baby goats in your neighborhood?

          • I live in a suburb – and there are no goats around! Only an occasional stray cat. A neighbour once did have either a lamb or a baby goat (I’ve forgotten which) in their front yard years ago. My younger siblings were at the fence adoring it – despite Dad’s encouragement to go and look, I was still shy and reluctant (although in the end I did).

          • It’s OK, jm … we all have different temperaments. There is some wisdom after all in not petting every random animal you encounter (or at least letting others go first and seeing what happens). 🙂

    • Thank you so much for coming along on this virtual stroll, Mel! I have to echo your sentiment that it was a pretty amazing encounter with those owls. Definitely not something one sees every day! Hope YOU are having a wonderful day too.

    • Isn’t that one of the wonderful things about blogging, J.P. — that we can see things through others’ perspectives? Like the comment you made on another post, that you would have been noticing the convertibles with their tops down instead of all the dainty flowers. 🙂 But I’m so glad and honored that you find beauty in these photos. Thank you as always for stopping by!

  2. Heide, I only read COMO LAKE and I had to hop over…. I’ve been neglecting all my blogger friends lately because I need to have the time to really ‘go into the depth’ of each post and if I’d only comment w/o any thought it wd seem unfair to the person who went through the work of writing. But I was totally wrong with my notion of Lago di Como in Northern Italy, as yours is in Minnesota!!!
    But I wanted to come to your door anyway as I’ve just devoured a magnificent book called The Shoemaker’s Wife by A. Trigiani – and Minnesota plays a pivotal role in it. Do you know it? If not you must read it, I insist 😉
    I didn’t know any red winged blackbirds even existed, they are magnificent. As are your photos f the young owl – oh the beauty of it all. More and more (also after reading that said book) I realise that every landscape has its charms and beauties you can’t get anywhere else. Having been exceptionally lucky in my life to have lived in many places which mostly were of outstanding natural beauty, I’m deeply grateful for and also deeply appreciate when I see the keen eye and open heart of others appreciating THEIR beauty surrounding them.
    Have a great week.

    • Hello Kiki! I know exactly what you mean about being a stranger in these parts for lack of time, as I am dreadfully behind in my reading as well. But even so, I’ve made note of your book recommendation (which I’ve never heard of before). I also echo your gratitude at having lived in so many beautiful places over the years — and having the good fortune to visit so many others, too. But most of all I”m deeply grateful for YOUR kind comment and your appreciation. I’m always honored when my posts speak to you. Have a wonderful week ahead as well, and thank you again!

  3. What great pictures! I couldn’t have resisted those cute goats either. Some years ago I rescued a young owl that had been hit by a car, and was a little taken aback by how weird it looked up close. Huge hands, err claws. He recovered, but his flight days were over and now he resides at a local nature center.

    • Bless your heart for rescuing that young owl! You’re right that they’re odd-looking creatures up close, though — they are definitely “purpose-built,” aren’t they? Well … thank you for sharing that lovely, happy memory. And thank you too for stopping by!

    • You have made my WEEK with your kind comment, Regine! I’m truly honored you like my photos and am pleased they convey exactly the sense of calm I feel when taking them. Thank you so much for your kind comment.

    • I used to have a Flickr account and dabbled briefly with Instagram, but it became unmanageable to belong to so many communities. So now I just post here. And thank YOU for stopping by here! 🙂

      • I stared an Instagram account because so many people advised me to do so. I think they were hoping that it would drive traffic to my site. I don’t know if that is true or not.
        You’re right, though, about belonging to so many communities. It is daunting and time consuming. I just joined Strava and even that seems like I really shouldn’t bother. Oh well.

        • Are you enjoying Instagram and Strava (which I’ve never even heard of, by the way)? Then stick with it! But if it seems like a time-suck or a hassle, cut it loose. That’s my philosophy, at least: Spend your free time on things you truly enjoy.

          • strava is for runners and cyclists. It maps your routes for you and gives you timing over sections of routes. It seems like the best way to keep up with cyclists from my trips.
            Instagram I am enjoying because some of my acting crushes have accounts and put up pictures of themselves.

          • That second paragraph, Anthony. 😀 Very well, then. I shall not encourage you to abandon Instagram! 😉

    • I’m so glad there are others out there who have been lured into a life of crime by irresistibly cute livestock. 🙂 Thank you for stopping by, and for leaving me with a huge smile!

    • Thank you, Tom! I wish you had been there with me. But I’ll get in touch soon about that Eloise Butler walk and we’ll see what other wonderful sights we discover. 🙂

    • I’m pleased to say that some laundry and a shower removed all traces of goat from my person, Björn. 🙂

  4. You had me drawn in at “goat snot” = p Wonderfully visceral and comic context! With beautiful photos of the dawn (old buildings included – another great draw for me). I do love the power and promise of sunrise. Thank you!

  5. How lucky you were to experience the owl, Heide and amazing photos ❤
    The Japanese inspiration is very interesting, I will look into it!! xx

    • It makes my day to know you enjoyed the photos — and the (attempted) humor too. Thank you, Tasha! For stopping by, and for your sweet comment.

  6. Heide, lovely photos, but will you pleeeease consider a blog template that uses more of the screen? This one is just not doing your photos justice by cramming them in the middle third of the screen only. : (

    • I’m with you! I almost feel bad about having captured a moment of such indignity. 🙂 But you’re right that it’s truly beautiful. I felt very privileged to see it as close as I did.

    • I’m so pleased you enjoyed the virtual “forest bath,” Louise! Thank you for stopping by, and especially for your kind comment. Hope all is well in your corner of the world …

  7. Goodness! Could you pack more interesting walkabout pictures in one little essay? I should think not. That second image of the owlet cracked me up for it seems apparent you’ve injured its dignity with your spying, not unlike as if walking in on someone drying off from the shower. Sorry for my anthropomorphizing for in all seriousness these are fascinating pictures of a critter doing the tough, dirty work we don’t often get to see. That’s an interesting, wavy/upsy-downsy path. Looks like a very nice walk. Hope you’re having a good week, Heide.
    -Jason

    • I also felt like I had somehow injured the owlet’s dignity, Jason — your analogy of someone drying off from the shower is perfect! Fortunately I’m pretty sure the owlet won’t see this blog post, so hopefully it will forget about the ugly episode entirely. If you ever come to Minnesota I’ll take you and the boys to these beautiful little woods — and to Gibbs Farm Museum too. In combination they make for a lovely stroll, and a fascinating dip into my fair state’s history. Hope you’re having a great week too, and thank you so much for stopping by!

    • What a kind comment. Thank you! It’s encouraging words like yours that make it worth the time and trouble.

  8. These pictures are INSANE! They are absolutely stunning! Just when I think my jaw won’t drop anymore, you wow me again.
    Also you rule breaker you! Lol. That would totally be me though. Don;t touch the animals…Ooopsss I touched them. Lol. ❤

    • It’s probably a good thing we don’t live any closer to each other Kate, because I can only imagine the trouble we would get into! Or at the very least the epic giggling fits. 🙂 Goat-touching aside, I’m really honored by your kind words about the photos. I’ve felt in a bit of a slump lately, so I really extra-appreciate the encouragement. Bless you. xoxo

      • LOL. We would definitely get into some trouble! BUT at least we would have fun while doing it! ;p Awe I am so glad. I meant every word. They are stunning! I can relate to that. But I would never know you were in a slump by looking at these! Huge hugs ❤

  9. Those owl shots are priceless! Wow, wow, wow! I would have been floating on a cloud for weeks had I come across something like that…and you got pictures! Nicely done, Heidebee. I’m so happy for you and for us as we live through you and your photos.

    I also love all the dappled greens, and the glorious sunrise. As for the goats, I probably would have pet them too. Animals have a way of drawing you in, don’t they? Thanks for this nice visit.

    • I was indeed on cloud nine after seeing that owl, Alys — if I didn’t have the photos, I might still be questioning whether it really happened! And like you, I love the dappled greens too. For whatever reason, they make my soul happy. As for those goats … well, they make my soul happy too! As do you. Thank you for brightening my day. xoxo

    • I would use the exact same word to describe that sunrise, Antoinette! Thank you for stopping by, and for your kind comment.

  10. I was about to type good morning friend, when I noticed it’s the crack of 1pm, LOL. I’m still in PJ’s thinking about all the things I should do, but I so wanted to come and see charming silliness you’ve been up too and you never disappoint!
    I just read the hilarious goat story to the hubster. He wonders about me sitting here alone laughing. Omgoat, I can just see you out there, camera in hand, loving up the slobbery beasts while someone looking through a window thinks, “can’t she read that sign?”…bahahaha!
    But honestly, your forest ‘bath’ (that’s truly lyrical) is so beautifully photographed, I feel like I’ve been on a refreshing walk.
    It’s pretty amazing to come across an owl family in the daytime, you may be a distant relation to Snow White, having nature’s creatures just popping up out of the forest around you. They’re so cool aren’t they? It’s surreal how they’re just sitting there looking at you…eeep!
    My favourite photo is the grass ‘bathing in sunlight’ 😀 Did you get down on your tummy for that point of view? So dedicated, much to my delight. Cheers my dear, all lovely, you’re lovely 😀 xo k

    • Great minds think alike … it’s 12:15 here and I’m still in my PJs too. In our defense, I’m sure it’s 3:15 a.m. somewhere right now. 😉

      I’m so glad those crazy goats brought you a few giggles! I’ve been by to visit them a couple more times — and now they’ve been joined by a pack of very hungry sheep that come RUNNING every time they see me. Soon the chickens will be out too, I expect, and the barnyard horror will be complete.

      Thank you for joining me for a stroll through the woods, too! It’s so funny you link me to Snow White because that film had a profound influence on me as a child: I had no interest in being beautiful or living with seven bachelors, but the bit about being in harmony with the woodland creatures really spoke to my soul. Alas, they don’t really come flocking … it’s more like I sneak up on them when they’re distracted by acorn-burying or flight lessons.

      As for that photo of the grass in the sunlight: I did consider lying on my stomach, but instead squatted indelicately for fear of incurring the dreaded “photographer’s wet belly” disease. LOL

      Well … I can’t thank you enough for stopping by and for all of your lovely comments. You’ve made my day! xoxo

        • I had never noticed before that the last line of your posts is also your title. That is SO CLEVER! And I am apparently very inattentive. 😉 Thank you for the link to your “Thelma and Louise meet the chicken” post too. My gosh … you and Alys are just too adorable! Wish I lived a bit closer so I could crash your adventures. But how lucky you are to have found each other. xx

          • Nay! You are definitely not inattentive! I just decided it would be my hook, a little game to secretly enjoy. 😀
            It’s pretty fantastic that Alys and I would have so much in common and enjoy each other’s company so much. Get this ! Alys and our other bloggy friend Laurie from Life On A Bike discovered that we all have the same middle name ! Wild hey? We’ve been travel buddies and all connected first from blogging. Now, if your middle name is Anne or Ann…..I think that might be super freaky 😀

          • How funny that you and Laurie and Alys all have the same middle name — what are the chances?! My middle name isn’t even pronounceable, though, so I guess I can’t join the club. Still … would love to meet you all someday!

          • That would be epic! My BFF cousin Sherri is in Ottawa….that seems close for you and I’ve been itching to see her. Alys would probably be up for it because Sherri, Alys and I hooked up on Vancouver Island one year.
            Orrrrrrr, our lovely friend Julia (Defeat Despair on WordPress) has just built a brand new house in Virgina. We’ve visited with her a couple of times b4 and just fly into DC.
            Orrrrrr, Alys and I hook up a couple of times a year, usually once in San Jose and once elsewhere. We are very open to new places too. Where haven’t you been on the continent that you are dying to see?

          • You have friends EVERYWHERE! That’s really cool — and not at all surprising, actually. 🙂 All of the places you’ve listed sound wonderful and I would join you in a heartbeat *if* I had any vacation time left. Alas, my trips are already booked up through July of next year. But after that! Maybe San Jose or Vancouver Island? (The hubby and I have been dying for years to visit Vancouver so that would be the loveliest of excuses.) xx

  11. OMG. I am so glad I saved the link to this post. My laptop and internet connections were acting up, so I was not able to easily peruse the blogs I subscribe too. For many, that is not a huge problem. But yours is one I do not want to miss. These shots are incredible. The red-winged blackbird, the owl unfolding itself and the last image of green. It is impossible to select a favorite.

    • You are so kind, Patti … thank you! I feel the same way about your blog: it’s always full of wonder and beauty, and one I never want to miss. Thank you. xx

    • How you have brightened my day with your kind comment! Thank you. And I promise I will get back to that spot again soon, as the fall colors aren’t too far off now. (Sigh.) Thank you — as always — for stopping by!

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