Morning walks along the quiet, private roads off the beaten path of Beacon have become a routine to look forward to each day. With Mt. Beacon to the east with the rising sun at the summit, peaking behind the cell phone towers, my eyes are wide open for spotting the diverse wildlife that I encounter. To date, I've seen migrating snapping turtles, a fox and her pups, deer and their fawns, two bucks, a "convention" of goldfinches, a blue heron, and a rare sighting of a bluebird. I usually regret that I don't have my camera in hand, but relieved that I can continue walking without losing my brisk pace.
The cooler morning air, crisp after a cold front moves through, is very satisfying during the dog days of August. But the wonder of mist and fog felt particularly joyful after several intense thunderstorms over the course of several evenings. I have seen Mt. Beacon shrouded in a lace curtain, blowing gently with the southerly air current. The stillness and usual quiet that accompanies this time when most of the human wildlife is still asleep sounds even more intense to the ear of the heart. Even a doe seemed mesmerized as she listened to my voice wishing her good monring and asking her not to run. But the chance sighting of a buck in the distance on the Craig House property was the reward for this day's early outing. I had seen him once before, but this time, the antler framed by the gray fog seemed to merge in the distance with the nearby branches of a tree; his strength and venerable stance as he stood watch was softened so that he appeared to be approachable. He watched as I continued my walk; I wondered how large his territory is and how many of the fawns I'd spotted were his.
I recalled easily how I get so upset when I see the road kill along 9D -- a fawn here, a fox pup there, a doe - always a doe. I wonder what family member went missing and whose loss it was, With a small family and everpresent or looming loss, I sense my strong connection to the natural aspects of this very small and private community. I believe the wildlife are my neighbors as well and form part of the constant companionship that I sought after in Beacon.
Some food for thought: Celtic spirituality refers to the 'thin places' where heaven and earth meet and time and space are transcended. The morning mist and encounters with Mother Nature facilitate reflections of the spiritual side of life; that aspect of the self which seeks balance and harmony is dominant during my morning journey of a thousand steps. It's a warm and wonderful feeling to appreciate that this thin place can be found so close to my front door in the Hudson Highlands, ready and able to welcome me home to myself as I begin each new day.