Thursday, September 18, 2008

Twilight Hike

To Rocky River, as we often go, on an evening hike with Anna, Jonas, and Lavinia. The encroaching darkness gave us an excuse to keep the kids on track, moving forward, and avoid stragglers - we did not want to get stuck in the woods in the dark. The kids were all terribly excited to see each other, running down the path from the parking lot to one another with open arms, laughing and hugging. Lavinia succeeded in getting a little too close to Bastian who had fallen asleep in the car and thus retreated from attention due to grogginess. She does this with everyone. Especially babies.

Anna spied a toad in the path. Aleks immediately set to catching and dropping it and catching it again.
He showed it to all the others. He said it peed on him. Anna explained that it's not pee, just sweat. I'm not certain if that's true or not. Google did not yield much beyond this bit of information:
the warty skin contains many glands that produce a poisonous milky fluid, providing these toads with excellent protection from many of their predators. This poison is only harmful if it is swallowed or if it gets in the eyes, but it can make many animals very sick.
So the jury is still out on the toad pee issue.
The woods were getting darker very quickly. We once all got lost in Rocky River Reservation during an early autumn evening and it was terribly nerve-wracking and not a little bit scary for Anna and I. This time, we took the trail we know best and didn't veer off the path to insure we'd be just fine. Even still, the darkening sky was a little intimidating. The colors drain from everything in the dim light, our faces and clothing and the dirt and trees and sky become but varying shades of gray.
At the top of the cliff, you could still see the bit of sun setting beyond the horizon.
Across the Gorge, atop the distant hill, sat two towers topped with bright red lights to warn off landing planes. Against the dusky sky, the lights glowed like the eyes of a monster. The kids all agreed.
There was a flock of geese flying and honking, then landing, then flying in a circle and honking some more. We're pretty certain it was the same group again and again, making a bunch of racket as they passed us. Here they appear but a blur due to low light and my (relatively) cheap digital camera.
The water glowed, light as the sky, a silvery sheet far beneath us.
And again the geese flew past.
The land opposite this cliff houses the airport just a little ways in the distance. We often watch planes landing and taking off from our perch. It's an interesting view, with the planes larger than we are accustomed to and an angle that puts us level with them. Here, the plane appears as but a streak of light, ascending into the deepening evening, headed westward to chase the sun.
This must be how those UFO photos came to be - bright lights a camera cannot hope to capture. My friend Michelle did a series of these beautiful watercolors that depicted such UFO sightings, with little blips above houses and seascapes and cow pastures. They were so gorgeous and perfectly bizarre I wanted to buy them all.

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