Kodi and I set out around the same time today for our walk, about mid-day. Yesterday was cloudy and humid, calm and warm. Today was mostly clear, the air dry, and a stiff wind blew enough to warrant multiple layers. It felt like fall again, after the respite yesterday.
We walked down Bald Hill Road to a nearby conservation area--the Cole Fields and Piscassic Greenway in Newfields. This is one of our favorite walks since we can reach it on foot from our house (no driving). Once we reach the Cole Fields, Kodi goes off leash and our forward progress grinds to a halt, as he sniffs nearly every leaf blade along the trail that meanders through a meadow. He sniffs for dogs and coyotes and other passersby, marking each spot as he goes. Some days the coyote smells are too strong and Kodi turns back towards home.
When we arrived today, a woman was just leaving with her multiple dogs that were barking madly through the car windows. Kodi immediately started sniffing as we walked, studying just who these dogs were that left their fresh scent along the trail. Any worries about coyotes were smothered by the scent of domestic dogs. We meandered slowly through the field, past the wetland, to the edge of the woods.
Just as we were about to walk into the woods, a large limb crashed to the ground and then another. Kodi and I looked at each other and decided on this windy day we'd stick to the meadow. A stand of bigtooth aspen, golden in their fall colors, rattled in the wind. Fallen leaves dotted the mowed field.
As we walked back along Bald Hill Road a large tabby cat caught Kodi's attention. Kodi is not fond of cats, they drive him crazy. He's never come in direct contact with a cat--fortunately he is always on a leash when we see one. He nearly pulls my harm off in his excitement. This cat was big and aggressive. First it stretched to make itself look big, and then it ran toward us with a hiss and an outstretched claw. I'm not sure I've ever encountered such an aggressive domestic cat. I bet it kills a lot of wild things and maybe it saw Kodi as a big fisher, something that this cat might have tangled with before. I pulled Kodi quickly away, as I think this cat would have left its mark on Kodi's nose. We'll both keep our eyes peeled next time we pass that way.
As I write this post, another event interrupted our quiet evening. About 7:12 pm--just a half hour ago--our house shook for 5 to 10 seconds and Kodi started barking. At first I thought a large tree had fallen, but then our neighbor said it must be an earthquake. Our other neighbor at first thought his boiler blew up. I think he was happier that it was an earthquake. I checked the USGS Earthquake website and sure enough it was a quake centered near Saco, Maine. You can check the information here.
So much excitement in one day. Now I'm not sure I can handle the debate tonight. Maybe that will shake things up too.