Today while taking a winter walk on the plains east of Denver, in Cherry Creek Lake Park, I watched my step as I made my way along the snowy, icy path. I had just looked up for a few steps and thought to myself, "I'm missing the mountains! I'm missing the views of the mountains because I am so concerned about watching my step."
Image shows frozen Shop Creek watershed at Cherry Creek Lake Park near Denver, Colorado.
I fell on the ice earlier this year. I was making the maiden voyage in my new snow boots when I stepped off the curb and went BOOM! I'm beginning to understand the old saying about how the older one gets, the scarier ice gets. Fortunately, I was not hurt, but it slowed me down a bit, make me more tentative on icy paths.
When I looked up again, I saw a man walking my way in the expansive park. He, too, had bundled up against the cold. He, too, looked relieved to get outside, stretch the legs, feel the fresh air and sunshine. As we neared one another, his grin widened. "Did you see the coyote?" he asked.
"Coyote?" I looked around, eager to spot the wily one. Disappointed I had missed the wildlife moment.
"He just crossed the path," the man said. "He was heading over to that watershed."
I explained to the man that I'd been too busy watching my step, careful not to slip on the snow and ice.
As we parted company, I looked around, realizing that the coyote did not have to let me see him if he did not want to: There was plenty of camouflaging cover.
But for the remainder of my walk, I tried to look up as well as down. I have seen coyotes at Cherry Creek State Park. Once, I saw a trio of them out on the ice not far from the edge of the woods. Once, I happened upon a bloody deer carcass, snags of pelt, bones upon the snow. I have heard the coyotes calling in the evening.
And on the return trip today, looking down and looking up, I did spot a bald eagle perched in a tree. As I walked gingerly along the path, I kept my eye on him, and did not miss the moment when he left that tall tree to soar off into the distance, my head up as I tracked him winging across the winter sky.