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Dec. 24, 2004

The day before Christmas was one of those mornings when we were blessed with temperatures in the teens, and I discovered when Junie and I arrived in Boxley Valley early that morning that it had also been blessed with a little snow, not much, not so deep as a well, nor so wide as a church door, but enough.

There weren't many people out to view the elks this early in weather like this, and they were taking advantage by grazing very close to the highway. There was even one on the near side of the fence, and as I slowly drove by, she decided to rejoin the others and easily vaulted to the security of the herd. I briefly considered stopping to try to get a photograph or two, but I figured all I would succeed in doing would be to scare them off; so I let them be and got on with photographing subjects a good deal less elusive.

We worked our way up our sweet little creek, shooting a little ice here, a little snow there, and finally ended up in what I call Ferny Canyon, which has an overhanging bluff on one side and a steep hillside on the other, a little waterfall at the head and a huge mossy house-sized boulder at the breach, and many boulders piled and sprawled about in between, and gets its name from the abundance of ferns that grow there in the green season.

But this is ice season, and ice was what we were there for this time.

As we hiked back out to the car and came to an area of the creek I call the stone groove, I noticed that the ripples in the creek were shining from light bouncing off the trees on the other side. I just love this kind of thing, and this place in this light was one of the better examples of it I've come across.
Sometimes when you look close at the ripples in a stream, you can almost begin to wonder if there aren't spirits who live there, who slip into shapes for a second and then slip away. Can you see spirits in the creek?