04 December 2018

The Best Things in Life

I'd worked super late the night before. I did NOT want to get up when the alarm sounded. I'd promised my bosses I'd go in early to finish up what they hoped would wrap up overnight. I hit the snooze button. Twice. The third time the alarm sounded, I decided I could skip sunrise and just go to work. As long as I got up the next hour when the re-set alarm sounded, I could still get a spot at the park and ride, and I'd still be to work a bit early.

I curled back up in my warm bed with my fraying Dancing Lizards quilt and tried to wash sour memories of one of the previous night's documents out of my head. I told myself if I couldn't fall back asleep in five minutes, I'd go ahead and get up, get ready, and report to work. I'd peeked out the window, and it didn't look like the sunrise would be worth shooting.

The nasty pagination of the messed-up document won, and I made the bed, re-set the alarm back to 5 a.m. and got dressed for work.

I didn't rush because I wouldn't be missing anything by not walking along the greenway before boarding the train. I'd communed with my favorite great blue heron the previous day and had earned a Charity Miles badge from Team Fox. If I could get off in time this particular night, I could walk on the greenway the next day, prior to our next big snowstorm, which might bring a better sunrise than we would get this day.

I stuffed my breakfast, lunch and crochet bag into my backpack and hung my little point and shoot camera around my neck, just in case the sky to the west turned pretty during my drive to the park and ride.

The eastern horizon had taken on a different appearance than when Venus shone brightly nearly an hour earlier. A waffle-shaped cloud might prevent the sun from painting the foothills bright gold, or it might turn bright gold...

I decided to park near the greenway, even though I didn't have time to go far now, instead of closer to Denver, where I didn't have to pay for parking. The tips of the cloud began turning pink as I engaged the parking brake, and before I reached the bike path, a sun pillar was lighting up the previously gray cloud.

Now I was fully awake and remorseful for not dragging myself out of bed when the first alarm sounded. I couldn't walk more than about a quarter of a mile because I needed to be on the train in half an hour, but now I was in the mood to fill up a memory card.

I walked along the bike path to the first bridge, initially intending to turn back there, but a pair of deer posed, and the sunrise was turning out pretty darned awesome.

I decided to walk beneath the overpass and to a tiny little waterfall where I had previously seen muskrats on occasion. I might even be able to get another pink water reflection shot, and perhaps a mallard would pose for me.

I stood still on the bank of the river, blocking out sounds of the city and listening to the water cascading over a series of rocks. Mist was rising off the water, visible only from a distance. I could smell the humidity, and I wished I could stand in that spot all day.

The corner of my eye caught the movement of a tiny bump in the water above the spillway. I tried to track its movement as it swam behind the rocks toward the waterfall. I was certain it was either a muskrat or a very small beaver; no fowl head and neck periscoped from the silhouetted mound.

It didn't appear at the top of the spillway as I thought it should have, and I assumed it was munching on the sparse winter brush emerging from a few of the rocks. I looked back at the waterfall and pondered if I could get into position to move the pink reflection in front of me onto the base of the bubbling water.

Just then, a tiny little lump with a long tail slid down the waterfall as if it was enjoying a theme park ride! Down into the water it dove, and I stood breathlessly motionless as I visually scanned the water's surface in search of the little mammal.

Even though I didn't get a photo, I was utterly thrilled to have beheld a critter enjoying his backyard Disneyland. I began composing this blog post in my head. If I'd begun this little walk an hour earlier, as initially planned, I would be over by my favorite blue heron, and possibly getting some great shots. But I would have missed this tiny little treasure that will keep me smiling for weeks. And perhaps keep me searching for similar photo opportunities for months.

I decided to take a photo of the little waterfall to illustrate the story. So what if Muskrat Sam wasn't in the picture? We all have imaginations!

Then an idea hit me. I could film the waterfall, and it would be easier to imagine a tiny little skinny dipper gliding down the water as if it was summer.

I tried to steady myself and then gently pressed the record button, and...


  1. lol Timing is everything, isn't it?

    1. No kidding, Helen! What a joy it was to see such a fun sight!

  2. Sometimes getting up a little later can work out, as you would have missed other things, got others. Round and round it goes. Always tend to kick ourselves though when we do sleep in. Got some great shots indeed. And looks like he came back for his video shoot. No imagination needed.

    1. I guess you nailed that, Pat! I did take away the opportunity for everyone to imagine what I saw!!! (And I just noticed there is another muskrat in the still shot!!!)


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