So this guy likes nature, the woods, ponds, dams, creeks and the like. Likes hilly hardwoods in particular, likes to take walks on and off deer trails with some main trails resembling a cow path.

Thinking, these  deer have quite the life, just roaming the woods, going on their way. Crossing paths with red and gray squirrels, porcupines and skunks, pine martins and raccoons. A two-legged stranger occasionally comes moseying up the trail, the deer heads go erect, ears perk, white tails flag high and the roaming changes suddenly to a mad dash in every direction, seldom staying on their beaten path. But a brief disturbance on their way in the woods.

Woodpeckers swooping overhead, tree to tree, breaking the silence with their staccato laughter. The prehistoric pileated woodpecker pierces the morning melody of blue jays and chickadees.

Then you know, spring is here - a loon eerily echoes on the pond below while a pair of swans loudly splash their long takeoff, circle the pond twice and slowly gain altitude to clear the surrounding hardwood hills. Their bugling reaches a crescendo as they clear the treetops, fly off to another nearby pond, only to soon announce their return home to this pond, these two swans’ and two loons’ home. Year after year after year!

Thinking where there’s hardwoods, there’s less underbrush to spread as you walk and sit and walk and sit, and watch and listen. More to see with these hills, swamps, meadows, beaver creeks and ponds and dams.

A martin comes out of the spruce and tamarack swamp way below, scurries up a tree every so often for observation, I suppose, working its way to the hilltop where this guy is relaxing on a semi-comfortable big black stump from a long ago red oak tree, getting closer as it zig zags over crackling dead leaves, up and down bare trees until it reaches the deer trail on top where this guy just walked, is sitting on a stump and doesn’t like martins that close and yells for comfort and back to the swamp in a hurry for the martin. Close call, he smiles!

Yes, it’s springtime, mid-April, sapping season is over, finally! Now, walking around the woods of maple trees with tiny red buds, bare red oak, white oak and white ash, amber-crowned birch here and there, the young birch curling out their amber bark, mixed in with the few poplar shedding their fuzz. And that danged ironwood taking up space. I’ll take it!

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