Friday, February 20, 2009

A Walk in the Wintry Wind

Iseemed like a great day for tracking: not too cold, some occasional sun, and new snow the night before last.  But ooh!  What a cruel wind!  It wormed down into my ears and clawed its way up my parka.  And worst of all, it knocked down all those heaps of snow that had coated every bough and twig, pocking the forest floor until it looked like cottage cheese.  Or as if all the forest creatures had hopped about on pogo sticks.  If there were tracks through the woods today, they were very well camouflaged.  Out on the ice by the river, whatever faint trails I found were filled in with blowing snow.  Hard to tell who made them.  Oh well.  Lots of other wonders await in the woods, even on cold windy days.  

For example, I wonder what these berries are.  I'd say they were winterberries with not just their guts but also their color sucked out of them.  Just a month or so ago they were a brilliant red and nothing would eat them.  As winter went on, either the freezing made them sweeter or someone grew desperately hungry.

Here's something red: the topmost twigs of a highbush blueberry bush.  I'd never noticed this rosy color on blueberry twigs before, although I had seen their buds as red as rubies.  And speaking of buds, I found some on flowering dogwood:  they look like little turnips.

Now for something a little green, a tree just covered with this fungus.  I wonder if the green color could be an algal or mossy growth on top of the fungus?  I noticed teensy tiny trumpets like some kind of lichen napping the tops of some. (You can't see that in this photo.) 


Virginia Boyle said...

You are finding lots of hints of Spring, and some of seasons past (hollowed out winterberries!). Mid-February and things do look different.

Virginia Boyle said...

Bill and I had a great snowshoe outing today, hiking up Berlin Mt., from the Williamstown, MA, side crossing into Petersburg, NY. Although gorgeous, eight inches lush fresh powder made for tough going as we broke trail. I was surprised to see that, even when we reached the Taconic Crest Trail, no one had been there before us. At the summit, every twig was coated with fresh snow, making us feel much farther away than an hour from our home in Albany. Strong wind sent us back into the trees, where we found shelter under the weighed-down branches of a huge hemlock tree. Surrounded by snow-covered branches and white-painted needles, as if in a Narnian cave, we decided this was the perfect place to peel and eat a tangerine. Our trail back down was so easy--someone else should take advantage of it, but the forecast calls for heavy snow tomorrow in Western Massachusetts, so it will fill back in. At the end of the hike, I lay face-up, basking in the warm sun. I couldn't resist leaving a snow angel.

Woodswalker said...

Thanks, Virginia, for taking us along on that hike up Berlin Mt. and under that hemlock tree. Snow-covered trees are magical, like fairy castles everywhere. And I swear I could smell that tangerine as you peeled it. I'm glad you stopped in for a visit -- Jackie