Thank you to everyone who answered my poll. I'm always glad when people participate in this kind of thing.
Today I arose at dawn and drove a couple of hours to Lake Bob Sandlin, in northeast Texas, near Mount Vernon.
I met my friend G. there, who drove in from Texarkana, some ninety miles in the other direction. We do these "meet in the middle" trips a time or two a year, as it is a good way to combine visting an dhiking. We had put on our winter clothes so that we might do a Sunday morning hike in the 35 degree weather. On the drive down, I listened to an AM radio program featuring that really old-time white country gospel music, as well as an NPR feature on the Mexican roots group the Folkloricos. I'd love to be able to play a Mexican native peoples' flute.
Unlike my part of Texas, which is mostly grasslands with a lot of trees, Lake Bob Sandlin is mostly trees with a lot of grasslands. We began walking the wooded trails, until amid the fallen leaves we lost the trail. Then we began to walk along the lakeshore. We're in drought conditions now, so that the lake had receded several feet from its usual bank, revealing mussel shells spread like small sea shells along the beach.
The water was filled with birds. Huge flocks of ducks arose, flapping from the water, and moves a few feet, each time they thought us near. The sound was like a giant machine. A huge great blue heron would relocate himself
periodically, and once did so with great dudgeon and a piercing shout. It was the first time I'd seen a heron issue a cry. We also saw a tiny green finch, playing about a pine tree. I figured we would see winter holly in berry, but we saw little in the way of berries--perhaps a casualty of the extreme lack of precipitation.
We talked about work, friends, and all the things that old friends of over twenty years' standing discuss,
and then we went our separate ways. Just before we headed off, an hour and a half or so of walking later, he presented me with a stone chess set from Mexico he had gotten as a "thank you" for house-sitting for friends years ago, and now wished to pass on to me, in order to do some house-clearing. It's a lovely set, in the "aztec" design, with a gorgeous board. On the drive back, I deviated off Highway 380 onto remote country farm roads,
where the open fields clearly shwoed why they call this the "blacklands"--the soil was a dark, rich, loamy color. I visited very briefly a city park called Southlake Park I'd never seen before. I saw goats, horses, cows, and hawks in abundance along the route home.
Then came time for the Weight Watchers meeting. I found I had gained weight this time. I was not discouraged, though, because I could pinpoint the errors. I'd known that I would gain, although I'd hoped abundant exercise would cover over some of the potential gain. The only thing that sets me back a bit, I've noticed, is that virtually any lapse results not in a predictably small gain, but in the gain of 3 or 4 pounds. I wish I could report that the culprit was a wonderful piece of Boston creme pie, or a half dozen gingerbread men. In fact, though, excessive snacks of raisins, along with a tempura shrimp on Friday and an extra samosa last night, appear to be the culprits. I'm going to learn from the experience, though, and not worry too much about it.
I watched a little of the season-ending carnage that was the Cowboys' football game, and then fell asleep with a book. I arose to eat leftovers.