WINTER WALKING. There is this walk within Devils Fork State Park, between the two remote ramps, that I save for winter each year. It’s just a mile and a half back and forth between the ramps, and yet possesses a nice bit of vertical climb, so the walk is pretty good early morning exercise for myself and Mica, my deliriously happy dog on these walks. No traffic at first light, and plenty of squirrels to chase. That’s the magic formula for Mica. For me it’s the early morning light streaming through the forest, and the first calls of the loons as they come in from their rafts of safety at night, well out into the basin, seeking their first meal of the day, wailing out to locate their companions. The loons weren’t there this morning, as they are just now arriving from their summer breeding ponds. They’ll be there soon though, and I will know then that ‘our loons’, the ones that ply this shore every morning through the winter months, are here for the season, this fine season of solitude, long shadows, and the grace of the loons. ~B