Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Winter Returns

Close to zero this morning. Snow has fallen, enough to turn the ground white. It looks like Winter really means it, now. And I'm glad. With frozen lakes and rivers, and snowy fields and woods, my outdoor adventures take on a different focus. The rest of the year, woodland creatures hide from sight, but now I can follow their tracks in the snow and try to decipher their stories. I can't go out in my boat anymore, but I can still delight in water and the icy forms it assumes. So I went to the river today and walked about in the woods.

While I walked, I thought about my friend Warren, who used to come out with me. He died this week, finally succumbing to the Parkinson's Disease that slowly depleted his strength and robbed him of his agility. While he still could walk and enjoy an outing, I brought him, an avid birder, here to the Hudson to look for eagles. And wonder of wonders, the eagle gods rewarded us! (I wrote about that outing in my post for February 24.) We enjoyed several other adventures as the spring and summer wore on, but eventually the disease took its toll, until the effort outweighed the pleasure of going out, and now my friend is gone. He would have been 80 tomorrow. We were friends for 40 years, and I will miss him. He was a good man.

I wish I could have showed him today the majestic fountains of ice that had formed on the cliffs along Spier Falls Road.



Or the dainty feathers of frost that had formed on the moss-covered rocks.




Long before he became a college professor, my friend was a woodsman and trapper. I'll bet he could have figured out what this critter was up to, dancing about in the snow. Would he have noticed that yellow spot where the animal crouched to pee? I wish I could ask him.



6 comments:

June said...

I'm sorry for the loss of your friend. You know he would have enjoyed seeing those wonders. And who knows . . . maybe as you remembered him, he saw it all...

Louise said...

I am sorry that you have lost your friend. People who share your interests and philosophy are few and to be cherished. Lucky you, to have 40 years of memories to be cherished.

threecollie said...

So sorry for your loss...very lovely photos and tribute.

Ellen Rathbone said...

My condolences for the loss of your friend. I'm sure you were a blessing to him during his last year.

Female fox?

Woodswalker said...

Thank you, dear friends, for your kind wishes. And yes, Ellen, I do believe that was a female fox. We've seen this behavioral evidence before, have we not?

Virginia said...

Hi Jackie,
Very nice memories of Warren Hockenos and your time together in nature. I used to babysit for their boys.