This morning, the hound and I left early for our daily hike. I wanted to cross a remnant of tall prairie, and was hoping that the cold leftover from the night would lessen my chances of stepping on any sunbathing, 4ft. fox snakes. I rambled out past the last lavender tufts of hyssop and periwinkle petals of chicory; past the short, silvered stems of sage, the ruby leaves of turning sumac, and the round yellow fruits of horse nettles. We startled a bouquet of seven pheasants, which I considered very auspicious...it is rare for me to see so many. A blessing for what I was on my way to do. We went west, under turkey vultures circling, and then north against the grain of the skeins of geese heading south. At the edge of the prairie, we climbed the hill, the backside of a tall bluff overlooking the river, where a doe bounded into the treeline, and I raised my hand and said a prayer for her safety during the approaching deer season. We reached my destination, a stone shelf overhanging the bluff, with the winding watercourse below us, curving back and forth as far as the eye could see in either direction. I sat on the stone, a place where the whispers of spells past are still carried by the fingers of breeze that never leave such a high, open place; while the hound bounded off behind me, springing up and down in the tall grasses. I left offerings of water, corn, wild rice, and honey, for the Spirits of the place. Then, I left the hearts of mallards, glistening and dark red, like large overripe berries, as a song of thanksgiving; while a hawk watched me skeptically from the twisted, tangled branches of an old burl oak. And, I sat there for a very long time, taking in the absolute glory of the morning. One gift for another. Reciprocity. When, at last we left, we took the long way back. No need to rush. Once home, I made a small fire above our little creek, still rushing from the recent rains, and heated a pot of Three Sisters and venison sausage soup for my lunch on it, while I sat writing in my journal what would become this post. I recalled how earlier, in the pre-dawn darkness and sleepy head-fog before the school bus came, I had lamented to my daughters that it was "only Wednesday". Now, I wonder why I would ever wish any of my days away too quickly? This day has been exquisite, in every way. Each and every day deserves the same honor and attentiveness. The same gratitude you would give for any wonderful gift. I read back what I had written, the long list of beings - animal, vegetable, mineral, elemental - and was gladdened to know tomorrow is "only Thursday", so I can hike back out early, and thank them all for this lesson.