The following was a column I had published in the Kings County Record on Tuesday, January 15, 2013. I hope you enjoy the read as much as my mother did, although that might be hard to do as she is a bit biased. Enjoy 2013.
It happens without warning. There is no evidence that that moment will be great. You are looking across a landscape admiring it for what it is, beautiful. The symmetrical lines of ice along each bank of the river are highlighted by the darkness of the cold water running down the valley. There is white snow hanging heavy off the spruce while the same snow sits lightly on the farm field on the opposite shore.
The winter scene can be taken in at almost any bridge crossing in New Brunswick this time of year. What made this one special? What blessed this day? Suddenly it happened. Two deer stepped down out of the tree line and onto the ice. I was on the bridge over the Hammond River taking photos for work but since I was still on my holiday time off, I had my son with me. This further elevated the whole blessing. We both took photos and stood open jawed in awe of the scene that was put before us. We couldn't believe the dumb luck we had to witness the scene before us. We laughed when a truck simply roared by and didn't even slow down to notice.
I can only count, maybe, a handful of times this type of thing has happened to me. This time was different because I shared it with my son and it happened over the holidays. It drove home the so many things that I have to be thankful for through 2012. The fact that I am able to get out and enjoy the many natural gifts this area has to offer is a big one. If you take the time to put yourself into those situations, you subsequently experience more of those "wow" situations. Sometimes the problem is not that we are privileged enough to witness such moments but rather we just don't recognize them.
On a canoe trip down the Millstream River a few years ago I approached a beaver dam and suddenly, just below the dam, a large buck stepped out into the river. It was another great scene and I was able to take it in and appreciate it. The other day, my Dad, who was with me that day, asked if I remembered the day. We both had the same outlook on the memorable day. It was rare and special. The more time I spend outdoors in the wilderness however, the more I think "Huh, maybe it isn't so rare?" As I write this column and I think about which special moment to write about I realize how many I've had. The beaver in Falls Brook, the cow and calf moose in Newfoundland, the pair of moose in Maine, the osprey on Trout Creek and many more. It isn't just animal sightings that inspire these moments; there have been sunsets and sunrises, lightning strikes, and even insects that have inspired me. Again though, the hardest part is recognizing those moments when faced with them and avoid racing by them like the truck on the bridge where my son and I stood.