Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Silent River, Babbling Brook
A stunningly lovely day today: cold clear air, no wind, not a cloud in the sky, the sun now high enough to shed real warmth. And because that sun felt so warm on my face as I walked through the woods to the river, I was surprised to find the water still frozen over with thin, black, glassy ice.
I stood on the bank and marveled at the silence. No rustling of dry leaves in the trees nor lapping of wavelets at the shore. Not even a raven's croak nor a chickadee's chirp. All was still, without sound or motion, except for the flow of my breath in and out as I savored the cold sweet air in my lungs and the comforting warmth of the sun on my back.
I stood there for quite some time, unwilling to break the silence with the crashing footfalls of snowshoes. Then, in all that silence I heard the slithering sounds of sheets of ice slipping over each other out on a section of open water near the opposite bank. When I looked in that direction, I saw shining plates of ice rear up out of the current, catch the glint of the sun for a moment, then sink back into black water. One could almost imagine a school of dolphins frolicking over there.
When I walk in the winter woods, I like to try to identify the dried husks of summer's flowers. I believe this spike of tulip-shaped pods that was standing at the water's edge is Turtlehead.
I followed a little stream back into the woods. Although the stream was frozen solid and silent where it widened to join the river, further into the woods where it tumbled over rocks, it was dancing and singing as if it were glad to be freeing itself from the ice. I stood for a long, long time just to listen to its music.