Friday, August 21, 2015

Minnesota 2015 - Country Roads and Wildlife

In the upper portion of Minnesota 2 lane paved roads sometimes seem a luxury. The road as well as the driveway leading to the cabin are packed dirt and gravel. Deep, dense wilderness graces each side. In some spots the sun shining through overhanging trees dapple the bare ground of the tiny road with light. Sometimes we traveled through tunnels of green, the dense foliage obscuring the sky. In some areas the trees looked as if they had been trimmed, a 30 foot tall hedge looming over us as we drove, with the car top down, along roads that had no names or numbers.

The paved roads roll up and down, veering off into crazy, unexpected turns like a roller coaster. They follow the terrain. They do not, like some cross country thoroughfares, blast through a mountain or hill to remain straight and unwavering, they commune with them, caressing their curves and changes in elevation.

The wilderness hides the wildlife. Save for the one that jumped across the road some distance in front of us while driving down a forest encrusted stretch my travel buddy remarked on the lack of deer. He has feeders at the edge of the woods that surround the cabin. He fills them with table scraps and corn. Moments after he said this, a deer, as if waiting for us, stood in the yard in front of the cabin as we approached. Startled, it bounded into the tangle of trees. Later we watched from the windows as a doe, accompanied by two speckled fawns, emerged from the brush to feast on the food we had left for them. I saw my last one on my final morning checking the feeder before returning to the protection of the trees and undergrowth.

The chipmunks were almost fearless. They scampered around the deck and along the railing. They dashed around our feet picking up the peanuts we tossed to them, shoving them in their cheeks before scurrying off to stash them in their burrows, insurance against winter's long onslaught.

Red breasted hummingbirds visited their feeder. Other tiny birds picked at the sunflower seeds, the ones the greedy chipmunks had not already made off with, in the tin plates nailed to the deck railing. A family of ducks grazed in the deep grass on the slope that leads down to the lakes edge and the call of a loon was heard in the quiet air in this place where man's footstep is gentle and unobtrusive.

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