Cabin Fever is that ailment that forces one, eventually, to either leave the house or kill everyone too slow to escape. I opted for the former action.
“Where are you going?” She Who Must Be Loved queried.
“Up on the mountain,” I replied.
It’s not much of a mountain, compared to some I’ve hiked or driven on, but it’s reasonably close to home, and not unenjoyably populated. Time being a little short, I drove, stopping a few times to get out and look closer at various eye-catchers.
A male turkey wandered just out of camera range, close enough I could see his bright red head, but too much brush between us thwarted my ability to focus the camera. I tried to follow it, in hopes of a clearer shot. He toddled off, staying ever the same distance, until one time I looked away, distracted by a flutter, and when I looked back, Mr. Turkey was gone.
A large bird, a flash of black and white in the corner of my eye, lit high in a partially dead oak. I stopped to look for it, employing a trick I learned long ago: Look in a general direction, but at nothing in particular, and wait for something to move.
There! In the fork of the next tree to the right, a Pileated Woodpecker, black and white with a bright red, crested beret sweeping off the back of his head. Woody Woodpecker was a Pileated Woodpecker. He was smaller than the one I saw.
As I tried to maneuver for a shot, the rascal launched through the treetops, across the road, and gone.
Easier to find was a Hairy Woodpecker, deliberately employed in the disassembly of a Gray Birch. The bark was completely removed from about one-third of the trunk, exposing what the woodpecker hoped was a supply of bugs organic protein. He must have been successful. He allowed me a single fuzzy frame before deciding the snacks might be better at a different diner.
The trip was marred by a pile of stuff someone didn’t want anymore – a couple television sets in varied disassembly; a recliner chair that apparently no longer reclines, or maybe no longer un-reclines; boxes of rags and a pile of plastic bottles.
We humans have been dumping our garbage in other’s yards for years. Most of us do not know or care where it goes. “Out of sight, out of mind.”
Maybe if we waited until after midnight, drove up in a dump truck to the dumper’s, spilled the trash and made off before we could be caught – which is pretty much how that pile of waste got dumped out in our woods.
Still, every chance to wander afield to visit other cultures is a partial cure for the closed in walls of my suburban abode. I am happy to report there is plenty of wild in the life of South Mountain.
Come on out. But please, take your trash home with you.