117: Amazing day

(Ski tracks through the woods.)

This is the kind of day that makes me think I love winter.  M and I went to the Pine Lodge Ski Center at Chapin Forest Reservation for our cross-country ski lesson.  The instructor was wonderful and brutal.  Wonderful in that she seemed to figure out quickly what we needed to learn and how we needed to learn it.  Brutal in that she kept us going for pretty much the entire 90-minute lesson.  I guess she figured we could handle it.

I might not be able to walk again for at least a week.  lol!

Brutal, also, in that she kept making us work our way up a hill so we could learn how to come down it.  In the end, this tackled my fear of going downhill, which was probably her ulterior motive.  Hehehe.  I did tell her I worried about going downhill because I didn’t know how to stop or control my speed (and it always seemed to me that the downhill part ought to be the fun part!).  By the third trip down I was feeling okay about it.  What clinched it for me was when we were on a more gentle downslope later on and I slipped out of the ski tracks, slid across the path, and managed to stop myself without panic or having to think about it too much.

Yep.  We had a great teacher.  We also had a lot of fun and I am so glad we decided on taking a lesson.  I think it will make a world of difference for me.  M seemed pretty confident already.

We worked up quite a sweat.  Even so, we weren’t finished after our lesson.  We decided to head over to Holden Arboretum so M could check out their ski trails and I could hike around for a bit, camera in hand, to take some winter photos.  I took plenty but you’ll have to wait until tomorrow to see them.  I hiked a mile or so in the deep snow.  Add that to the skiing, and you get one exhausted Robin.  (Oh, we saw a flock of robins today, too!)  I’m trying to get this post up fast so I can put my feet up and rest for the remainder of the evening.  (Note to self:  No more digressing!  You can write all about this tomorrow!)

After arriving home two red foxes ran into the yard and we watched them for a while.  I don’t think I’ve ever had such a good view of a fox, especially in the wild.  I did attempt to take some photos and this is the best of the lot (don’t get your hopes up):

There was a screen on the window, it was past sunset, and by the time I grabbed the camera both foxes were on the move again.  But I think you can tell from the coloring and bushy tail that it’s a fox.

Pretty amazing, really.  The whole day.  🙂

Night noises

It’s very warm here in the Bogs. Warm enough that we slept with the windows wide open last night. Warm enough that at some point in the middle of the night I was considering closing the windows and turning on the air conditioning because I couldn’t sleep with all that warmth and humidity clinging to me.

Around 3:00am my body gave up in exhaustion. I finally fell into that deep sleep which had been eluding me. I drifted off to the sounds of the bullfrogs by the pond and a great horned owl hoo-hoo-hooting in the distance.

Unfortunately, it was a sleep not destined to last for long.

About an hour or so later M and I were awakened by a frightening screeching-screaming sound that seemed at first like it was coming from right outside our bedroom window. I thought this horrible sound might be a cat, but it was missing a certain feline quality. M suggested a bird. It must be a BIG bird, I thought, to produce that sound at that volume. I hoped it wasn’t human as I think it would require a lot of pain to bring out that sort of scream from a person. I can’t imagine anyone screaming like that. No one human. Perhaps a banshee.

There were no other noises outside. The bullfrogs, the owl, the peepers had all been silenced by the eerie screaming sounds.

We peered out the bedroom windows, trying to see what it was. No luck. M had pinpointed the sound as being near the shed next to the garden. There are bushes blocking our view from the bedroom.

We made our way out to the dining room to look out through the patio doors we had installed last week. M made a quick dash to the basement first to grab the big flashlight. He shined it towards the shed, the garden, the big tree next to the garden.

There! By the tree! Three pairs of gold eyes shined back at us.

Less than a minute later we saw movement. Something was running in our direction. M caught it with the flashlight, running towards the spruce trees. It was a red fox.

The noise stopped once M had shined the light outside. We went back to bed and the night went back to normal outside. The bullfrogs picked up where they had left off, as did the peepers. I didn’t hear the owl again. Eventually I went back to sleep and had a dream about strange noises in the night.