This morning I walked without my headlamp, but I probably should have used it. The morning was dark enough at my normal dog-walking hour that I couldn’t see very much. Even the crows, one of the first to announce the start of a new morning, weren’t up yet.
The shortening of the days are hard for me to get used to, even though shorter days last for more of the year than longer days. In summer the longer days mean I can judge the weather of the day and do a little early-morning birdwatching during my walks. Most of the birdwatching is done by sound, not by sight, as I do try to enjoy the time spent with the dogs on my walks. I’ve grown used to hearing nuthatches, chickadees, wood thrush, belted kingfishers, the ever-present bluebirds and robins as well as the less-frequently heard yellow-billed cuckoo. I can tell if the geese are around and when they are being fussy. I know the morning is well underway when the little pewees echo their mournful call through the forest. And this morning was silent. Not even the screech or the great-horned owls put in a comment.
Our only sighting this morning was a deer galloping away from us. It had gone down to the pond for an early morning drink of water when we startled it. I heard the clatter of hooves and saw a darker shadow bolt towards the woods just in front of Dog and me. I couldn’t even tell if it was a buck or a doe, Maude or Mabel or Mergatroyd.
In another two months and a bit more, the leaves will have fallen, opening up the forest and allowing moonlight to reach the ground. That helps a bit or so I tell myself. Until then the mornings will be dark, I will need my headlamp, and I won’t be able to see much during my early morning walks. It’s going to take me a while to get used to that again.