The lines of thinking I latched onto this week:
Rolled hay. I ended up research the planting, growing, and harvesting process of hay. All because every day on my way to and from work, I drive past a few fields with large rolls of hay held together by twine. They have been left there to age, much like split wood, over the winter. Now, with the recent rains, they are soaked and beginning to sag.
Bloated river. The river has been up over its bank all week. The highest all winter. Dark, quick, splotched with migrating buffleheads and Canadian geese. It dropped for a day, or two. But now is rising once again. A quick crest, dip and now another climb up the floodplain.
Birds. The woods have been quiet and they sky sparse. Within the last few days with a few days pushing into the 60's, the sky is beginning to fill with birds, the woods have a brighter voice.
I stumbled upon the name "Raftman's Path" walking the river trail that traverses through the little town I live in. It was named during the days when lumber was a huge commodity in this area. The Susquehanna River was an industrial thoroughfare - bearing down loads of lumber from the northern reaches of Pennsylvania towards the Chesapeake. Marietta was a stopping point, a place for the lumber either to go to the mills lining its banks or shoot further downstream through pig iron smoke. Raftmen would guide the lumber down to the mouth of the Susquehanna into the Chesapeake - an estuary of salt, water, lumber, ore, eel and shad. When their job was done, they would walk the raftman's path back through the Susquehanna Riverlands of Lancaster County towards their homes. The path is now wooded and meanders through some of the only "wild" places left in the county.