The Fringe Benefits of Getting up Early

In about an hour I’m leaving for a weekend camping trip to the Porcupine Mountains, across the border in the Upper Penninsula – this will be first time ever laying eyes on Lake Superior. I set my alarm for about an hour earlier than usual this morning because I had a little packing to finish and wanted to be sure and have plenty of time to do it. When I got up and stepped out into the main room, a doe and fawn were browsing just outside the patio door. I stood there and watched them for a minute, delighted, but when I started to make my breakfast I forgot they were there for a moment and made a sudden movement that startled them into fleeing back to the cover of the trees, tails bobbing like white pennants.

While I was eating I heard a pileated woodpecker calling somewhere outside, the first one I’d heard since moving here.

Yesterday the head of the school where I work now presented each of us graduate fellows with a lovely little book, NOLS Wilderness Wisdom: Quotes for Inspirational Exploration. Flipping through it, I can tell it will be great to take on backcountry trips with students. Here’s your thought for the weekend while I’m gone.

To the attentive eye, each moment of the year has its own beauty, and in the same field, it beholds, every hour, a picture which was never seen before, and which shall never be seen again.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson