351: Bones in the woodsPosted: September 9, 2011
It has been damp and dark in the woods the past few days. The grayness of the clouds overhead lets in very little light where the canopy of trees is thickest. The forest is still verdant and what light there is has taken on the green shades of the foliage on the trees, the mosses, and the lush undergrowth.
Except for the occasional cawing of a crow or the rolling rattle call of a northern flicker, it’s quiet in the woods. The air has been still the past two days with barely a breeze. When a breeze does come by, some of the trees groan and creak, old men and old women rustling in the wind.
Closer to the stream you’ll hear the sound of the water rushing over downed trees and large logs. The water level is up due to all the rain so it’s difficult to get too close. Something went swimming by as I was watching the flow of the creek. Recently we’ve heard that some of the neighbors have caught sturgeon and crayfish in this creek. I don’t think it was either of those creatures. A frog, more likely. Apropos of nothing in particular, the name of the creek is Breakneck Creek and it is the second largest tributary to the Cuyahoga River. There is a sign along the Portage Hike & Bike Trail with a copy of a letter from an eyewitness who claimed the creek got its name in 1786 when Hugh Blair broke his neck while trying to cross it. I think his horse threw him, but don’t quote me on that.
Through the trees and off to the left of the creek is a small hillside with a bowl-shape indentation.
That is where I found a small cache of bones, picked clean, a worm or two crawling around them. The worms were probably driven up out of the earth by the heavy rain.
Having looked around a bit online, I think they are opossum skulls. But I’m not absolutely positively sure.
It was an interesting, and eerie, find.
It’s a discovery that makes me wonder: Who does the cache belong to? The Great Horned Owl that lives in our woods? A coyote? The red fox? It could be any of them, I suppose.
I should have saved this post for another day. It would have made a good Halloween post, don’t you think?
On a more serious note…
On this date two years ago (09/09/09 at 10:39am), my mother died. I’ve been feeling sad for the past few days. Sometimes it seems as though the days leading up to the anniversaries, birthdays, and holidays are worse than the actual day itself.
Those of you who were around at the time may remember that I acquired an association between sunflowers and my mother’s illness and subsequent death. While Mom was in hospice, unconscious and dying, someone brought in a vase filled with some of the most beautiful sunflowers I’d ever seen. Well, anyhow. If you’re interested, you can read about the sunflowers here. You will also find sunflowers representing my grief at the time in the next few posts following that one.
I spent a lot of time with the sunflowers when I went outside this morning. Today’s weather is much the same as it has been for the past week. Gray and gloomy with some rain. Another good day for grieving. It’s not all sadness, though. I don’t want you to think that.
Instead of focusing on her death, I like to take time on this date to celebrate Mom’s life, to be grateful for the gift that she was to all of us who knew her. Besides, I still talk to her frequently. She’s still there, in my heart. She may even be in the sunflowers.
So here’s to you, Mom. Cheers! 🙂