Rain, 59 Degrees, Light East Wind.
It is raining steadily as I finish my breakfast. Jamie is by my side, watching me to see if I make a move to go. I look at the radar to see if the rain might pass. It doesn’t look good, but it there’s a gap in the huge pattern of rain to our West that might just give me a break.
I decide to read a few pages of my book and hope for the best, and sure enough, the rain eases in a few minutes. I give Jamie the high sign, and he’s instantly ready to go. On with his collar, I gather the camera gear and head out the door.
At the woods, we make our way down the narrow trail that leads to the wider trails within. I’m looking up to see what nature holds for me, when I trip over a small branch lying in the trail. I make two or three of those big, running strides; you know, when you’re running as fast as you can, your legs trying to catch up to you body.
By some miracle, I manage not to fall, but my weak left leg is aching now, and I curse myself for my carelessness. Because of the rain, I’m wearing vinyl rain pants and a rain coat. The pants restrict my leg movement, and between that and my back injury weakening my left leg, I’m not at my best. In fact, I stumble several more times before I realize I need to watch where I’m stepping and pick my feet up so I don’t trip.
Just as I begin worrying about the sameness of the woods in summer, it rains, and the woods are transformed. Everything is impossibly lush. The bushes are hanging out into the trail, weighed down by the rain on their leaves. The tree trunks are dark, and with no sun, you can see deep into the woods without being blinded.
I photograph a number of the rich, green scenes on my way down to the Southern Overlook. I notice that my hands are suddenly itching and I quickly realize that I’m being eaten by mosquitoes. There’s a little cloud of them floating in front of me and they’ve been feasting on the only exposed skin on my body. I release the Velcro on my rain coat wrists, letting the sleeves hang down over my hands. This helps quite a bit. I can’t put off buying mosquito repellent any longer. I hate the stuff, but I’ll be eaten alive if I don’t get some.
I continue, mostly shooting lush vegetation against dark trunks and stems. I’ve left the tripod behind in the interest of mobility and convenience. I miss the rock solid platform that assure sharp focus, but I like freedom of movement I have. The trade-off, and it’s a big one, is that I’m shooting at ISO 800, and I’m having to open up the aperture and shoot at slow shutter speeds just to have a chance of getting any depth of field. I’m working really hard to steady my hands, so that the shots are not blurred.
Moving North, I take several shots of the woods. They look incredibly lush, and they make a nice contrast against the pines along the trail. After a shot or two at the Northern Overlook, I move into the woods, where the growing leaves, and the rain make for some more nice-looking shots.
I make my way up the steep hill to the upper level, and I find that I’m breathing pretty hard by the time I get up there. I notice this as I try to hand hold another shot with too slow a shutter speed. The rain pants are making movement challenging. I probably should have gone for the bigger size. These “fit,” but I now know I need more room.
I’m perspiring pretty heavily in all this rain wear, and feeling a little stressed, with the left leg aching away. I make my way slowly around the loop of the upper level, shooting a few things along the way. There is a bush in bloom, that wasn’t in bloom the last time I was by here.
It’s interesting to me that the cold, dry days of early spring are a distant memory now. Spring is here, and it’s beginning to feel like summer, with afternoon temperatures around eighty. Those cold days where I waited impatiently for spring, writing about it here endlessly, are gone and forgotten.
Back home, it feels good to peel the sticky layers of rain gear off my body and sit down to write.
I have good news today. Last night, I slept through the entire night without waking up in pain. In fact, I’m not in a lot of pain even in the morning. Sure, my back aches a little, but I can walk without pain when I get out of bed.
I go right to my mat and do my exercises. They do hurt, but the pain is tolerable, and I tell myself that this is how I’m going to push that disc back where it belongs. It’s the only thing I do that really helps my situation.
Even the shower and making my breakfast don’t hurt much. This is a big improvement. The skin on my lower leg is still numb and tingly. I can only hope that this begins to resolve itself over the weekend. I would consider that a major victory.