Thursday, December 29, 2011

Back Out to the Woods and Waters

A bright, cold, clear day, and oh, it was wonderful to get under that radiant sky and swing my legs along pine-needled paths and sandy shores at Moreau Lake State Park.  I do love the holidays, a month of feasting and family fun from Thanksgiving to Christmas, except that most of that month is spent indoors and eating far too much food that's not good for me.  So now I'm ready to get back to healthier eating and especially to just go out and play in the woods all day.  Yesterday,  a ferocious wind slapped me back into the house after just a few moments outdoors, but today a calmer air and a kindly sun called me out to wander for hours.

No snow as yet, as these photos show, but ice now covers the back bay of Moreau Lake from shore to shore.  I can hardly wait until the ice is thick enough to walk on, allowing me to reach my favorite haunts around the lake more quickly and directly.  We'll have freezing nights the rest of the week, I've heard, so I'm hoping it won't be long.  Today, the ice was whooping and moaning, a sign of further freezing.

Up close to shore, I could see all the wrinkles and crinkles that form as the water freezes.  It would be amazing to have a time-lapse movie of how these patterns progress.

Part of the fun of winter hiking is trying to recognize plants in their winter attire.  On my way home from Moreau I stopped off at Yaddo to visit some American Bladdernut shrubs that grow by a stream, and was glad to find a few bladders still dangling from the twigs.

A tree had fallen into the stream, and its bark was mottled with a very dark green lichen I don't recall seeing before.

I risked a slip into the stream to get a closer look at that lichen, much darker green than the very common Green Shield Lichen.  I though it was quite beautiful.

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