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Dec. 10, 2005
We arrived at Seven Points before dawn, but instead of jumping out of the car and sliding down the hillside to one of the seven overlooks that line the head of Cove Creek valley, I decided I wanted to view the sun rising and so drove the car back over to the sunrise side of Whiting Mountain. We sat in the warm car and waited, or at least I did, as Junie isn't much for sitting in a car when there's running and sniffing to be done.

So I watched myself a sunrise, but unfortunately that meant that we didn't get to the overlook during those first critical 15 minutes or so when a just-rising sun can paint the gray winter hillsides an emphatic red. Golden light may last for an hour, but the red stuff doesn't hang around nearly that long. Winter is the best season for red landscapes, next to fall of course, since the hillsides are a neutral color and show the crimson of dawn much more readily than when they are covered with the greens of summer and spring.

Still, I was happy to settle for orange this morning and promised myself that next time we would be sure to get down there and be waiting for the great light. We should all know shortly whether or not we succeeded.

Memories, emotions, visions, dreams, a moment by a creek on a chilly fall morning, a dog darting through brush and around boulders in a widening arc, the light shining from half-submerged stones at stream's edge, pieces in the mosaic of a life. This photo taken in 1996 or 1997 near the campground at Richland Creek evokes for me a particular time not long after I discovered photography and not long before I would begin losing one after the other all my old setters, who were my original hiking buddies and who taught me how much fun it could be to take a walk through woods and fields.

The larger boulders, the one in the lower left of the photo and the one in the upper right, are still there, firmly embedded in the creek bed. I don't remember who was with me the morning I took today's Back Light photo, probably Connor, or possibly Darby. Usually the first thing I do whenever I visit Richland Creek is go down to those boulders to see how the creek is running and to greet the old fellows there, calling across the years to them as they merrily dash here and there, and perhaps they prick their ears and look up for a second at the sound before disappearing again into the brush. To me they'll always be there.