A Whole New World

By , Littleton, CO
The turkey was scratching at the ground feeding, she was a beautiful sight. This wasn't like the domestic turkeys who drown in a light rain, this was a intelligent wild turkey. Every one of her feathers gleamed the rainbows of Autumn in the fading sunlight. The smell of wet leaves filled the air along with the loud honking of geese that were sitting in the parts of the pond that didn't gleam in thawing ice. Ducks were slowly and clumsily waddling towards me, hopping for the bread that many people gave. Once two were at my feet the others came running. In seconds it was a battle of orange beaks biting and angry quacking. Half a minute later they stopped realizing that there was no food and left, tripping on their own feet. The sun now low, left long cold shadows over the frozen ground. Looking up I saw the turkey had come closer, drawn by the ducks squabble for food that didn't exist. She stared at me, cocking her head in all different directions before walking out onto the ice.
This was the result of my first day with a 30 day challenge. I had challenged myself to spend time outdoors every day. In the mountains every weekend this is something that I already did, from sunrise to after dark. I just had not thought that there was anywhere to go in the rural area where I spend the five day week. On the first day I went to the pond, not expecting anything fun or exciting. Instead there was a wild turkey that I came to call Speckles. There were also the ducks, geese, coyotes, trees and plants. Each day Speckles came to trust me more and more, the ducks ate out of my hand and she would have too if I had not pulled away from the razor sharp beak. Eventually she did leave near the end of the 30 days because of snow, but she let me see that there was a beautiful spot away from the mountains and open plains.

When I was in the mountains I had other adventures, one of which was a hike into the Santa Maria land with two neighbors. We started out following a deer trail, slipping on frozen ground and snow. Going over a ridge we moved around the ranger house, trampling through deep snow like penguins. Coming to the fence of sharp barbed wire we took turns holding it up, careful not to get our clothes caught on the wire in fear of our parents finding out we came here. Sliding through trees we made a straight path towards the pond that we knew was over a few hills and around a few bends. The trees shimmered with frozen ice, making it look like a movie more than reality. Birds sang calmly as squirrels scolded us from the tops of trees. Right when we were a bend away from the pond we smelled it as wind blew into our faces. It was the smell of death and decay, so powerfully immense that it made it hard to breath without gagging. Slowly we walked forward, keeping our mouths shut to avoid the bitter air. Finally we saw it, a large horse carcass. Mouth open, legs sprawled out, large hole torn in its side revealing a rib cage, the claw marks and puncture in the neck. We all silently agreed that it was a mountain lions work, though it never occurred to us that the cat could still be there. Watching us. I brushed off snow with a strangely shaped stick as the SNAP of a camera went off time and time again. The sun had lowed considerable, leaving long shadows that made it feel darker and colder than it was. The birds were calling the last songs of the day, tucking their feathery bodies into hidden nooks. We finally pulled ourselves away, only because we had long since started holding our breaths. Once away our breaths exploded out, steam erupting for a small geyser. We made our way to the pond, walking easily now that there was not so much snow. The water stretched before us, fed by the trickling stream that pushed forward under the ice.





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