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Monday, June 7, 2010


Ohio is stereotyped as a prosaic and staid place. Endless farms of soybeans and corn make a picture postcard of wholesome living, hard work, and conservative values. Moo.

I'm from Cleveland though, and that area is stereotyped differently. When I was a child, the Hough race riots were raging and factories spewed out chemicals until the river caught fire. Thankfully, I wasn't in the middle of all that action. I grew up in a very secluded, wooded area 20 miles from the big city.

There are a lot of strange things in those woods, and if you talk to the right people, there are a lot of stories and opinions about what might be hidden in there. I talked to one otherwise sane woman who swears she sings to Bigfoot at night, and that Bigfoot sings back. She's probably right, or maybe it's a feral cat in heat, but I'm not going out there at night to find out. We also have a long history of legends about "Melon Heads", which depending on to whom you talk, are human-like creatures that hide in the woods and have been said to attack young lovers kissing in the dark.

Ohio has eliminated any real predators, never really had poisonous snakes or bugs, and in most of the usual ways is one of the safest places to live -- unless you want to count our records for serial murderers and cults, but there's no reason to get into Charles Manson or Jeffrey Lundgren, unless you also want to count in the fact that the Mormons flourished here while Joseph Smith was having his revelations.

So why the mini-history lesson, and how does any of this relate to "Trail"?

Because I grew up in the woods and learned early to trail things. The usual things to trail were deer, rodents, and birds, but one day I found these tracks, and my heart started pounding, which is exactly the same reaction I had when I saw the same footprints when I was a child. Keep in mind that I was in those woods every day for years and years, and only saw this track twice in my life.

I went home, called my uncle to find out how to make a cast of the footprints, then went back with camera and plaster. I took pictures of the surrounding area, and other oddities showed up in my pictures, including lights in the woods where there shouldn't be lights -- but in only 2 of the 4 pictures taken of the same place in the same direction.

The prints are about 6" long, and were made in heavy clay. That means whatever made them was heavy to make such a clear, deep impression. A footprint of a man's shoe in the same clay is very shallow in comparison. After talking with naturalists at the local park, the best explanation I've heard so far is that this is a beaver track, but to be honest, they really didn't seem to know, and got out the guidebooks to grasp at that straw, plus they were ignoring the fact that the toes aren't webbed. It would've had to have been an enormous beaver. They do live nearby, but I'm open to other suggestions.

Besides, I like the idea of Bigfoots and Melon Heads living in the woods. What is life without a little mystery?

I took the shadow from the sunglasses in the photo because it was distracting. Otherwise, the photos are as is. The art is a combo of watercolor, print, and PhotoShop.

For those of you who read my March posting about my dog Freya coming up on her expiration date, she finally reached it Memorial Day weekend (May 29). The attached picture was created by my niece last winter.


  1. Very good blog Linda! I am so sorry about Freya. Unfortunately I was stuck in the inner city of Cleveland during the riots, lived in a crummy neighborhood, my memories are not as good as Sue's and yours. Obviously from this blog you are an excellent writer. Ron Auvil

  2. Fascinating reading and beautiful image too.

  3. Thanks for the comments. I was wondering how people would respond to this posting.

  4. Beautiful work. I'm so sorry about Freya. As far as folklore goes, "I am Suzzlebut, lord of the mountain! Behold my Patrick Duffy leg!" :)

  5. LOL Suzzlebut! Thanks for the compliment and the condolences.

  6. Hi Linda I found your post! This is very cool and I like all the stories you told us yesterday in the car :) - Annie