I was out hiking the Indiana Dunes this holiday to earn that extra holiday cookie and piece of Christmas pie. Climbing the dunes is easier in the winter after the sand freezes hard and is a great cardiovascular workout and a way to keep warm and enjoy the quiet beauty of the Dunes habitat.
Christmas Eve was a grey day full of bright cardinals and blue jays in the woods. Once I reached the shore of Lake Michigan there were bright beach toys left from summers heated days to add to a holiday picture.
You never know what you will find on the Indiana shoreline. One Christmas day, a couple of years ago, someone had left a message of "Peace on Earth" in the sand of one of the dunes, as a quiet Christmas blessing to all who passed.
This year I found a crawdad, not quite frozen, in a bunch of sea junk. I felt sorry for him, so I stuck him in my pocket thinking I would take him home and warm him up in an aquarium.
A little ways down the shore I came across a bird trying to eke a living out of the sea junk. I realized that by picking up the crawdad I may have cheated the bird out of a meal. I quickly took the crawdad out of my pocket and tossed him to the bird. I don't know if it was the bird or the gulls that got the crawdad but he was no where to be found on the return walk.
The lake was restless and cold, but still not frozen, and as I walked I could see in the distance a group of Bufflehead Ducks bouncing on the waves. As I turned to climb back through the Dunes to return home, a tiny dusting of snow started falling, promising a white Christmas.