Gone were the joggers, the walkers and the usual weekend activity in my neighborhood’s local park. The total silence on my walk this weekend morning was wonderful. All you could hear was the muffled sound of a few geese landing on the lake and a trio of squirrels chasing each other for some odd reason.
But what happened to the people? Where were the kids chasing the geese? Where were the double-wide strollers and the dogs that got off the leash but that’s ok, “She’s friendly”? It was snow. To the north of us plows were running 12-hour shifts. And to the south of us counties declared a state of emergency due to ice. For us the weather man reported “a dusting to an inch” over the next few hours. I was wondering whether the term should be “a trace.”
But it scared my neighbors off of the neighborhood nature trails. And so I grabbed my Nikon and went for a walk. Where normally I stand out with my big camera lens and monopod, there was no concern about this morning. Heck, I could have worn my leafy camouflage poncho usually reserved for more remote ventures and nobody would have called 911. I’ll admit, the temperature was a bit cold and that probably affected anyone’s interest in going for a walk. But it didn’t affect the Buffleheads, which without my wearing my leafy green poncho and sitting in the bushes for hours, evaded me yet again. So I stuck to the squirrels and the songbirds. If it wasn’t for the snow surrounding them, these would make for fairly pedestrian photos.
As luck would have it, I stumbled upon a Great Blue Heron looking very chilly in the shallows of the lake. How do they stay warm? Why don’t they fly down south to Florida like the Egrets?
Then it dawned on me. I had made a gross miscalculation. My hands were completely frozen. I mean dysfunctional frozen. I finished up my photo of the heron and headed to my vehicle. A much smarter plan would have been to do my morning backroads drive first, then finish up with the walk in the park. If you are ever out on the rural roads of Maryland at sunrise or so, and come upon an erratic driver, one minute driving too slowly, another minute driving way to fast, and then occasionally driving two wheels off, that might be me. I need a sign that I can turn on when looking for critters on the backroads. Something like, “Photographer at work – makes frequent stops” might get me fewer odd looks.
With heater fully cranked on high, I drove around for a little bit. But it was getting late, i.e. 10AM, and the signs of critter activity were few. I stopped by the local stable though because I’ve been wanting to get a few photos of the horses in the morning light. There’s no light this morning, but the snow should suffice. Driving back home, the snow had stopped and the neighborhood was coming alive again. A few joggers and a 10 year old going door to door with his shovel. I tried to drive by slowly so as not to disturb the trace of snow on the sidewalk.