I am not watching. This our primary predator sense. My most accustomed, most comfortable sense. At this place, in this time, it is no useful. The world is awash with various shades of green, staggered, layered, a phalanx of trees around a meadow. Infant trees sheltered here, racing to meet the heights of their fathers. The only punctuation in color comes in hues of brown. Straight, tall sky seeking brown of long straight and now laid down brown. The brown which is purposed to hold the greens in place from leaves to needles to mistletoe moss. until there is no longer life to hold. And carpeting the floor in the pungent yellow-brown shades of autumn are the fronds of ferns kissed by frost on an eve earlier this week. But there is no movement to speak of save the breeze twitching branches. No visual sign of animal life except the occasional bird. Eyes are not useful in this hour.
Instead I have my ears. Behind me the water mercurial as it passes over rocks and branches, yet rhythmic and constant. A backdrop on which all other sound is splashed. Behind me left and distant, the persistant thump of far away hammers at our cabin and at piercing intervals the small dog howls. He is tied on my account. Round about me from within the impenetrable green, the forest crackles with life. Small squirrels chatter one to another. They break sticks and rustle brush as they scamper, sounding far larger than their diminuative size. A flicker or more have called nearby. They've also drummed out dinner on failing trees. A yellow jacket went as quickly as he came behind me. And I've heard several quads traversing different trails on the mountain. And always the swift running flow at my back which I must cross to return home.
Light is fading and will continue quickly now. There have been no birds for some minutes and the squirrels, I sense, have turned in for the night. There is plenty of light here in the open but within the ranks of forest if is approaching full dark. The air has picked up a moist chill and I am thankful for my hat and gloves.
I am waiting for the lumbering carelessness of a bear, wandering from and to anlong this well worn train. A large noise in the darkness to proceed a large dark form. An instant to readjust, loose the safe, and take aim. But color is draining out of the forest now with the passing light. I am running out of moments as the world slips into black and white. Today it seems will not feature a bear. Only solitude in a place of beauty.
(Transcribed from my field notebook.)