For several years now, I’ve done a walk with my camera from Forest Beach to Mill Landing and back again; my “Forest Beach Loop”.
And as I walk along, I look for beauty — in the dunes, in the air, along the creek.
This area is like a sanctuary for me. The walks not only restore my spirit but they’ve also become a glorious way to share the amazing beauty that is here on Cape Cod.
Which is what made yesterday such a sad and stunning day for me.
I had just reached the top of Osprey Hill when I heard the BOOM!
Within a split second I heard a duck on the wing, quacking loudly in the marsh below and landing abruptly – and alone – in one of the shallow creeks.
Then all was quiet.
Scanning the marsh below me I spotted something I never thought I’d see here before – a straw bale.
My heart sank for I knew what it meant: hunting season had come to Forest Beach marsh.
How can this be? I thought as I headed toward Mill Landing. In such a densely populated area, with all of the houses that line the marsh’s edge, where people walk their dogs and their children right there along the marsh? Seriously?
I made it to the Mill but instead of my usual excitement about reaching this beloved destination, I was filled with dread.
And sure enough, I could see the straw bale straight out from the Landing across the estuary; so close I decided to get behind the short stockade fence in case I heard more shots.
My hands were stone cold. I did not take my camera out, I did not take a single photo.
I guess I knew it even then — I would not becoming back to Mill Landing until hunting season was over.
The wild animals I have come to know here at Mill Creek are my teachers and my friends. My connection with them is strong; my respect for them, stronger.
As I walked along in the dimming light I thought about the Canada couple this summer who shared their beautiful family with me.
Trusting me with their precious ones, just yards away….
Those precious fluff balls sure made me giggle! 😉
I felt honored to be allowed to observe them, as through the summer I watched them grow into young geese; slightly smaller versions of their parents.
I also thought about the family of baby Black Ducks I had come upon up at Taylor Pond in late August. Boy, their Mama sure looked proud!
No, I would never want to do anything to bring harm to a single one of these amazing creatures.
I’d never forgive myself if one day I was walking down the hill to the Landing only to see how my presence had sent a flock of geese or ducks into the air, heading straight for the gun barrels only yards away.
No photo is worth that risk.
In the meantime, I’ll be searching for beauty elsewhere.
And living for the day in late January when I am once again walking down that hill to Mill Landing at sunset.
Listening for those familiar honks and quacks, waiting to see the Canadas flying with wings outstretched, wingtip to wingtip.
Be well, dear Friends, you are in my heart.