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December 7th, 2003

sighted on the trail

I set out with my fishing rod in hand to go to Park Hill Prairie. But I soon decided that I did not want to drive the hour and fifteen minutes to this remote park. I stopped instead at Princeton Village Flea Market, and looked longing at a 29 gallon hexagonal aquarium with stand, on sale for thirty dollars, until the seller told me it leaked. Although leaks can be sealed with that plastic stuff from the tube, I mentally set this idea aside, and went hiking.

To get to the Sister Grove Trail, one drives down highway 380 until one is surrounded on both sides by Lake Lavon, with the country highway "cutting through the seam". A highway on a bridge turns off to the left, and heads to shore. I took that highway, and (after a pit stop for caffeine-free Diet Coke) made my way to Sister Grove Trail.
Usually, I have this trail to myself, as it is somewhat remote, but today other vehicles were parked there.

I began hiking through the stubby trees and shrubs that are the "grove". Some things were green, other things were Autumn brown. I passed by holly berries, and in the distance saw the flaming red of a huge maple tree in color.

I heard a sound of scrunching footsteps in the wood, and realized that something larger than a bird was nearby. I paused and watched and listened. Soon, I saw a raccoon's tail, and its torso. I did not get a look at its face, and hence could not pick it out of a line-up.

The vigorous December wind apparently kept the raccoon from picking up my scent at first. I could only see his body, rather larger than I would expect, as he nimbly trotted off into the woods. I like that sense of seeing a bushy, "variegated" tail, wandering in the woods. I drove back towards home, checking out potential places to fish, and a new game room in McKinney. Then I drove home as Cynthia Nixon read a "selected short" story about awkward teen-age times on the public radio.