Oct. 22, 2005
As usual, the Bobbie alarm clock was running a bit fast Saturday morning, and I had to punch her snooze button a few times so I could stay in bed and pretend to sleep until the actual alarm clock went off at 4:30.

Bless her heart, I try to ignore her when she jumps up at three in the morning and barks in my ear, since to do anything else defeats the purpose, which is to hang on to any last shred of sleep as long as possible. But she is as persistent as any alarm clock, and the time always comes when there's nothing for it but to shut her up, preferably with the absolute minimum of actual movement.

Here's the thing about Bobsie, though. She's deaf, and so it doesn't do much good to yell at her, although if there's light to see by she picks up pretty well on body language: eyes bugging, spittle flying, arms flailing, and that sort of thing. But in the dark I have to fall back on one of the tricks a dog would use to discipline another dog, which is to body block her, sort of, which under the circumstances usually ends up being more of a shove with whatever part of my body I can lay on her, hip, leg, foot, shoulder, arm, elbow, hand, whatever. And that usually works, for awhile at least. A dog is nothing if not persistent.

Anyway, it was foggy that morning even in town, and so I thought instead of heading straight over to shoot fall colors somewhere on the Buffalo, I'd detour to Cove Creek Valley first, on the chance that this morning might be the morning that I'd finally get to shoot the valley in fog. It was still long before dawn as we rolled up and along Fly Gap Road, and we had pretty much left behind all vestiges of fog when we parted ways with the White River about 15 minutes earlier. As we neared one of the Cove Creek overlooks I was able to see that other than a line of fog along the valley of the Mulberry way off to the south, there was no fog to be seen here either.

So even though it was too late to make it to the Buffalo in good time, which is about half an hour before sunrise, I decided to try to cut our losses and make it there as soon as we could. And although we were able to get some time in, we were about a half hour late everywhere we went, first at Hedges pour-off, where we arrived a few minutes after sunrise, and then at the Buffalo near the Ponca bridge, where there was an old sycamore with plenty of character showing off a little early color, and where shortly the sun was topping the ridge to the east and burning away the fog, an apt metaphor for how we had burned our opportunities that morning.

The same hike along Richland Creek that yielded last week's Back Light photo also produced this week's, an image of an unlikely sprig of grass growing on a boulder in the middle of the creek.