The leaves of 2006 covered the ground, and a dusting of snow covered the leaves. Cold hung in the air and a ceiling of clouds sheltered us and the dormant woods as Junie and I followed a gentle stream in a broad level ravine until the ravine ended at a bluff where the creek tumbled over the edge into another hollow below. We first went right and then doubled back and headed left along the bluff in search of a way down, found one, and soon enough entered Kettle Hollow, where we were welcomed by the sight of Tea Kettle Falls running well after recent rains.
So I set about looking for photographs and essentially worked in a circle, starting among the boulders piled up along the bluff line to the left of the falls, then back behind them and up under the deep overhanging bluff, then to the right and finally out in front along the gravel-lined crystal-clear creek flowing through the hollow.
At some point in the circle, to my surprise, another photographer showed up and started in on his own circle, and when our circles crossed we introduced ourselves to each other, although Junie didn't need to be introduced since she had loudly announced herself when the interloper first entered our hollow. He turned out to be Bill Dark, a photographer from Rogers whose work I had known and admired for some time.
The woods have always meant solitude to me, have meant being able to take a dog for a walk and be at peace for a few hours, and to find people there seems somehow wrong, maybe because the woods are the one place where we can be perfectly round, like the ripples in a calm pool, rather that always getting tangled up in someone else's circles. In the woods we are meant to be perfectly round.