They may not technically fit the dictionary definition, not being sea water, but these are ice floes non the less, large flat rafts of ice speeding along on the current.
The geese don't seem phased one bit.
I've never seen this before.
Weather predictions did determine my destination this morn. On Thursday AccuWeather said today's temperatures would be in the mid-twenties and the RealFeel would be the same. Sunday, it said, would also be in the twenties, but the RealFeel would drop into the low teens. I would do Brandywine Creek today, because it is more distant, more country and more frigid off the creek.
I guess I'm making progress. I only got lost in the woods for one and a half hours this time.
This is how I judged my progress in golf back in the 1970s when I regularly chased the white ball or as one wag put it, "A good walk spoiled". I did not look at improvement by my score, but by the number of golf balls I lost. When I reached a point where the ball I started with was the ball I finished with I felt I was mastering the game.
On the radio coming here they played "Ripple" by The Grateful Dead. As I listened it seemed familiar and then I began to hear in my head Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Any Dream Will Do" from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Now I wondered who may have borrowed the tune from whom? As it were, Joseph came out in 1968 and "Ripple" was released in 1970. So was Jerry Garcia guilty of something?
There are a lot of treefalls along the trail. I wrote a novel called, Gray, and then one day did a photographic study called, Art of Place. Art of Place took passages from the novel and illustrated them with real life equivalents of what inspired the particular scene. My object was to show the difference between reality and author's art. There was a point in the novel when one of the characters escapes from her kidnapper, a very evil person only known as "The Gray Man". She manages to elude him at night, running barefoot into a nearby woods where she tried to make it to the main highway to get help. This is that portion:
"Near the point where the woods thinned the traffic was more than moving lights. It was dark whizzing shapes pushing her with air and sound. Just a little further and she would be at the highway, but then she came to a tangle of fallen or cut down trees. She would have to stumble across this jumble of logs. As she stepped atop one a broken remnant of branch jabbed into the soft flesh of her arch. When she yanked her foot away the log rolled backward and she tumbled forward, striking her head on the next in the pile. After a moment of swirling lights, Mary Beth Darlington fell into unconsciousness."
I hadn't a good picture of such a jumbled treefall, so perhaps these along this path would work.
Just pass this pile we come to the end of the flat ground alongside the Brandywine. We are past the picnic tables and the river is bending away to my left. It is carrying the ice floes from my sight as I cross the bridge over Rocky Run.
This is where I turned last time to wander lost for those two hours. Today I pass by and stay the main course as I enter into woods on both sides.
It is this way all through the park. Did all these fall within the past year? Was this the result of last years blizzards?
Were these all natural or was this a thinning?
Is this clutter a forest fire waiting to happen?
I peek back over my shoulder and four bicyclists are coming my way.
Down where they go, their helmeted heads just in view as they edge along the water, the ice floes are crashing together and being welded by the pressure into a shore to shore blanket. The air itself is growing colder as if this icy coagulation is acting as a refrigerator. My fingertips, though gloved, tingle.
I will meet these bicyclists again.
I veer down a side path to an overlook.
It looks out across the bend of the Brandywine. I can see the great ice clog clearly from here. I cannot see any sign of the bicyclists.
I can hear more voices and two more joggers run by on the main trail above me. Two men talking of their business instead of escaping from that other world as I am.
There is an uptick in the geese squawking. A V-squadron fly above me, honking, honking, honking.
(Can you see the V through the tree branches? It is perfect, not a goose out of alignment.)
Standing, staring down at the creek is chilling. I need to get moving again and amble up to the main trail again. Another group of joggers go by.
It is crowded for a cold early morn.
I pass a narrow trail that goes up the wooded hill. It is a high hill. I can see the trail twist up between trees.
I pass by the mouth of this path and continue on my way to the end of the main path.
Up on the hillside is an old deserted stone cabin. It looks lonely and forlorn. I wonder whose it was, why it was here, how old it may be?
Nothing tells me. There is no marker or sign to explain this.
I don't find any explanations on the park's official website.
It is melancholy looking at something old and deserted in the gray days of naked cold. It is too grim a reminder of some possibilities may lay ahead for a man my age.
Just past this remnant signs announce everything further along is on private property.
Ahead is the end and some apartments or a condominium where people live. These are places lived in and much more an enticing end than that forsaken cabin up on the hill.
They will not be my end, of course, I am sure they are out of my price range and I can only hope that old cabin is not what will be within any future price range.
Our area is rich in preserved history. I've been through Hagley a few times. It's worth the visit. Perhaps in 2011 I will take us all there.
Like how did that huge bolder get in the middle of the path? I think it was placed there. I don't think it rolled down the hill here. If it had been back in the woods along the steep hill, then it might have, but I don't see any companion rocks up the more modest mound here.
Perhaps it marks the divide between park land and private lots.
As I move around the rock I can see a jogger turn up that side trail that goes up the big hill. I think it is a woman, but am not certain from this distance. I too now turn up that trail.
At first I think if it is a woman she will think I am following her into the deep woods. But I have hardly started the path up and I can see her far up the hill and soon she is gone from view. She probably never even saw me.
And here I am again, off the beaten trail on to the not-so-straight, but very narrow path. I believe it will go up this big hill and then further inside the woods will join the path I had walked last week, which will take me back to the main drag.
My camera is completely dead now and will take no more pictures today.
I hope no one finds this offensive, for it is a part of living, but my bladder was reminding me of the coffees I had drunk before leaving home. There was now a need we have all experienced one time or other in our days, I'm sure. This pressure is bad enough when you know you will be home in moments or you are somewhere and a rest stop is in sight, but I was in the woods with no idea of exactly where or how far to the exit. I knew things were reaching a crucial situation, either I did something about my situation or I was going to suffer wet pants. This would not only be uncomfortable and embarrassing, but the temperature was in the low twenties. I would not like to freeze those parts of my anatomy.
Now some might say,"What's the big problem? You are alone deep in a woods."
The problem was the trails had been unusually crowded this morning, probably because it was the weekend. I had been running into joggers, hikers and bicyclists quite often and I also knew how quickly and quietly some of these came upon one. It was not summer. The forest was devoid of much cover. I could look out and see far through the trees. Still, something was going to happen one way or another.
At that moment the trail I was on dipped between some dirt banks and not seeing anyone behind or ahead as far as I could tell, I stepped off the trail and did what I had to do. With that embarrassing moment over I continued on more comfortably. (Now I called this an embarrassing moment, but technically I suppose one can only experience embarrassment if on public display. Let's call it a disconcerting moment.)
Afterwards, I had not gone far when I turned a bend and there came that lady and brown dog I had met long ago when I started up into these hills. I was glad to see her. I was also glad I had not seen her, or had she seen me, a few seconds earlier. I was glad to see her because it meant she must have circled around to be meeting me again and so I must be on the right path.
"We meet again," I said as she smiled at me. "Will this path take me back to the main part of the park?"
"Yes," she answered. "Keep going and you'll cross a bridge and that'll be the way to the parking lot."
I continued on and ahead saw a bridge. I crossed it and was amazed to see I came out where last week I had entered these trees for my two hour adventure. As I said at the beginning, I was only lost for an hour and half today, I am improving.
As I started back the main trail to my car, I encountered those first four bicyclists again. Mister Deep Voice was urging them to follow him up a side trail, one marked with the "No Bikes" sign and they were grumbling a bit. he was exhorting them, "Only fifty meters," he said. "You'll love it, I promise."
As I passed the other three I said, "I get the feeling you're not loving it."
They laughed and said something about too much leadership.
I don't know if they went up the trail.
I went home.