ON KEEPING STILL – – Spring is on its way to Presque Isle

March 6, 2013 8:17 am Published by 2 Comments


Ice on Horseshoe Pond              E. ware

Ice on Horseshoe Pond
E. ware

As I write, this its March 2, just 18 days until spring pops officially into being. A sure sign that this is true is that the woodpeckers are become more active. The other morning there were two on my suet feeder in the backyard. My wife and two friends said they saw quite a few out on Presque Isle in the last few days. With any kind of luck my snowblower is done for the season. Yes, I know we can count on some more snow, but maybe it will melt rather quickly and the blower can stay in the garage.

It’s about 30 degrees and just a bit of snow is floating around in the light breeze. Nancy is off on her TREC volunteer duty today and with the new book going through final edit, I’m bored. Nothing other than working on my tax return is on my schedule, so I decide to head for Presque Isle. Camera and notebook are in my backpack and Southern Pecan Coffee fills the thermos. The ice dunes on the lake side are wonderful right now and a just one or two brave ice fishermen are still setting up huts on Presque Isle Bay and Misery Bay. I get a couple fairly good shots of both.

Ice Dunes Brian Berchtold

Ice Dunes
Brian Berchtold

Remembering late fall, I head for Horseshoe Pond where while walking the shoreline I startled a mink who in turn startled me. I hoped, maybe, he would be out today. I knew that very near where I saw this little rascal, there was a large log which had found its way to the water’s edge during the winter. Because I have a special taste for solitude and silence, I headed right to this area where I knew I could keep the still and enjoy the silence and beauty of nature.

I park my car in the Beach 11 parking lot and walk to the isolated northern shore of the pond and work my way through the thick cattails and shore grass to the old log. I sit down and and take off my gloves and pull ot the thermos and pour some coffee. The pond is quiet. If this were summer the frogs would be croaking and the carp and bass rollling among the lily pads near my feet. Today there is a light skim of ice covering the pond. From the looks of it, I wouldn’t walk on it unless I really wanted to get wet feet. Due to the low water levels we are having now, the water is only about one foot deep here.

Sitting and breathing in the solitude, occupied only with the task of filling my coffee cup and taking in Presque Isle’s beauty, I get a “feel” something is watching me. It is a funny sort of awaking that I am not alone, that some living thing is very near me. Then, as I look up, I see a bird slipping silently among the bare branches of a nearby tree. He flies away, yet my feeling is still very much there. If you sit in the woods alone, this is not an uncommon feeling. It can be unexplained but it is not uncommon.

In an instant, inexplicably, I am looking eye to eye with a weasel, who is looking right back at me. He twitches his nose. I don’t. I wonder what he is thinking. A weasel is wild. Does anyone know what he is thinking?



He is really sort of cute. Maybe, eleven or so inches long not counting his long tail. He is light brown and dark brown mix, somewhat like a willow tree in spring. He is alert and soft-furred and I know that this time of year he uses this fur and his tail to drape and warm his nose in the colder weather. I feel very lucky because most weasels stay in their dens for weeks at a time in the cooler weather. They even hunt and bring home more food than they need so they can stay in the den for extended time periods this time to year.

His face seems to tell me that for some reason he knows that he does not have ro fear me, While his face is cute, it also has a fierce side to it. The under side of this thin furball is an almost pure white. He also has a small patch of white on the right side of his face. Eyes of pearl black watch over me carefully. Our eyes lock. He seems to smile and relax and actually takes a step or two in my direction. He knows I am no danger. Our mutual look becomes one of two old friends. He swishes his tail a few times, turns and disappears into the thicket.

I pour myself another cup of coffee and begin to fill three or so pages of notes about today in my journal. Again Presque Isle has taken a just plain Jane day and turned it into a memorable one. As I have said before, keeping still and quiet can change your whole perspective about the park. All you have to do to know this is look at some of the photographs of the wildlife, birds and scenery being produced by a few very good photographer that constantly roam Presque Isle. Yes, Presque Isle is “A Place for all Seasons.”

See you on the park!!.


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