Saturday, January 2, 2010
Walking Through Woods on a Snowy Afternoon
I know, I know, I meant to start the new year yesterday with a walk in the woods, but I didn't get out there. I got a beautiful new iMac for Christmas, so yesterday was spent firing it up and loading in all the stuff from my old computer -- a wonderful way to review the past year, since I went through all my old photos to junk those I no longer wanted. Arduous, yes, but also amazing to see again the incredible variety of plants and animals and landscapes we have all around us. And my new computer has a huge bright display for enjoying every photo to its utmost. So I couldn't tear myself away to go on a hike outdoors.
But today I did. And the weather was perfect: 20 degrees with fresh soft snow, creating a winter wonderland in my old favorite woods along the Hudson River. The snow is now deep enough to smooth the way over boulders and limbs that would impede my path in summer, so straight through the woods I went, my snowshoes softly humph, humph, humphing, as I made my way down to the river. A cheerful flock of Dark-eyed Juncos fluttered about me, keeping just far enough ahead that I could not snap their picture. Such darling little birds!
I suppose a bright sun and clear blue sky would have been welcome, but the veiled sun today brought its own kind of beauty, rendering a winter landscape that resembled a pen and ink drawing.
The profile of this small clump of twigs (I think it may be Sweet Gale) reminded me of Chinese calligraphy.
This snow-covered cluster of Winterberries was the only splash of color I found in the otherwise black-and-white marsh.
With the water now solidly frozen back in the marsh and out in the bays, I can now walk easily along the banks, searching for signs of animal life. There were very few tracks in the snow today, not even those of a mouse, but the critters will have to come out of their burrows soon. You can be sure I'll be watching for them. That's what makes winter so fun!