[2/4/21. In background, the abandoned Terrence Building at the site of the former Rochester Psychiatric Center. Except where indicated, all photos by David Kramer]
Since last March, we’ve visited the Highland Crossing Trail in Brighton several times, usually after a snowfall. (SEE SERIES AT END)
Last Tuesday and into Wednesday morning, we received our first big snow storm of the season as the remnant of a Nor’easter brought many inches.
On Wednesday morning, I ventured to the Crossing expecting to be the first to trample the virgin snow. I knew I was in for a hard slog when the STAY SIX FEET APART was buried in a drift, although I did not expect to be doing much social distancing.
The mounds of snow on the edge of the Monroe County Juvenile Detention Center parking lot were daunting. The old Psych Center looked more forbidding than usual, like a ruined Teutonic castle in the Alps.
Persevering, I discovered I was not the first on the trail. Ahead of me were recent light hoof prints of a deer that became my trail marker.
Hoping to find the creator of the prints, I felt like Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe, trapped on a desert island, discovering the footprints of a man Crusoe would find and later name “My Man Friday.”
The track continued until veering left near the bridge.
There, My Deer Wednesday had veered off into the woods and the track grew feint. Unlike Crusoe, I’ll never know my friend, although we may have met last April.
I crossed the bridge alone, leaving plodding human holes in the snow in contrast to the delicate marks left by My Deer.
Suddenly, I was not alone. Ahead of me were two humans on skis: Dr. David Kotok and his wife Wahyu Dilts.David and I mused as to who fares better on the snowy trail: humans with our technology or the deer with its superior leaping ability. We agreed the claim could go either way. Nonetheless, David quipped that humans have more fun because we’ve already eaten, while for the deer a jaunt on the path is alway a necessary foraging operation in search of a meal.
I returned, the next day. By then the path was nearly overpopulated.
The spot where the deer and I last crossed tracks was undisturbed.
THE HIGHLAND CROSSING SERIES