Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Winter Woods

I hate to admit it, but I have not been enjoying this winter the way I used to.  Various ailments are exacerbated by the cold, so I haven't been out climbing mountains or snowshoeing through the woods the way I had in previous years. I confess my couch has been calling to me more than has the great outdoors.  But yesterday, a bright blue sky, moderate temps, and fresh sparkly snow did tempt me out for a walk through the nearby Skidmore woods.  I didn't even need snowshoes to kick through the few inches of fluffy stuff as I approached the frozen pond.  Aha!  Here was my chance to explore the pond's shore, which is way too mucky for exploring in warmer weather.

From a distance, there seemed to be nothing very colorful among the pondside shrubs, but a closer look revealed that the Winterberry bushes still retained their glossy fruits, although they were more a wine-red now than the brilliant scarlet they had displayed in autumn.

The chubby round buds of young Red Maples also added a rosy hue to the branches hanging over the pond's frozen waters.

There were Highbush Blueberry shrubs as well, with twigs as ruby-red as their small shiny buds.

The spindle-shaped buds of American Beech gleamed with a coppery glow when lit by the low winter sun.

A couple of dried birch fruits had been caught among the twigs of a pondside shrub, looking like smallish pinecones.

The birch fruits shattered at my touch, filling my hand with little winged seeds and miniature fleurs-de-lis.

As a lowering sun cast long shadows through the woods, the sunbeams turned the leaves of young American Beech trees to glowing amber.

The most colorful surprise of all on this mid-winter day were the vividly hot-pink twigs of Striped Maple, their spectacular color set off against a background of emerald-green White Pine saplings.


The Furry Gnome said...

When you do get out in the woods, your close looks reveal some beautiful and colourful things.

Anonymous said...

Hello Jackie, i enjoy your photography and your prose even more. When Tom and I are together our shared visit is often remembered. David H.

Woody Meristem said...

Ah, the beauty of small things. So many times we overlook the buds and twigs that add their color to the black, white and gray of the larger winter woods.

Jacqueline Donnelly said...

Thanks, Furry and Woody and David for your kind comments. I'm always glad to know you come along with me on my woods walks.

Dave, I too often remember your visit, and I wish we lived close enough that we could make it an annual event. Hope you and Tom continue to enjoy your annual trips. Every time I walk that lakeshore where we found that dead Osprey, it reminds me of our adventures together. Did I ever tell you that a necropsy revealed that the Osprey was probably killed by a rival raptor, perhaps a Bald Eagle? What we thought might be rifle-bullet holes were punctures made by talons. These two large birds often vie for nesting sites and prey, sometimes engaging in mid-air battles.