Before our most recent round of northern storms I took the dog south in hopes that the birds would be getting out before the seasons first low elevation snow. Like most times though the birds and I had other ideas of where they should be. We saw no quail or even a dove. But to be out in that crackling energy before a big winter storm is intoxicating.
You can almost feel the certainty of the storm coming in the northwest winds. The high thin clouds, whipped by the winds trying to escape the storm behind. It feels like ducks in the move and powder under your skis. Despite what the weatherman says you can say with certainty it will snow.
The landscape seemed to match the feeling the air was giving. It was the kind of place where the gates have no roads, an older place or a forgotten one. We stumbled on mine claim markers that were simply a log stuck in a cairn and a section corner from 1928. The dog ran strong into that north wind. I think more than finding birds, she lives to run into a strong wind and know everything that’s in front of her. I don’t know how much more they smell than me but I can tell by watching that I’m missing out on a whole other world.
Quail tracks littered each wash we passed but it had been a while since we had a reset of tracks in our wash bottoms, another reason to look forward to the storm. We came across a jack rabbit that I passed on shooting but the dog didn’t pass on chasing. It felt a day destined for no harvest, just a moment to live in the uncertain energy of the leading edge of a powerful winter storm.
The afternoon passed in a pleasant trance of walking new country and feeling the storm coming. By the time we ended the day the northern sky was a frigid, flint grey and we figured it’d be best to head up the hill before the roads started turning white.