I had to drag myself outdoors today. The sky was gray, the snow was sloppy, and the cats were curled on the couch most invitingly. Wouldn't I rather curl up, too, maybe take a nice nap? Well, yes, but I hadn't been to the woods since Monday, and I needed to feed my blog (not to mention lift my spirits). So off to Spier Falls Road I went, grumbling every slushy mile, bundled against the snow that was turning to mush as soon as it touched the ground.
But then I got out of the car. "Hey, it's not so bad out here!" I conceded, snug in my Gore-tex gear. The river was running dark and full, the mountains that rise across the river were veiled with a snowy mist, and each little twig of the riverside trees was dripping with crystal drops.
Though the sky was gray, the sun appeared like a big yellow pearl behind the general cloud cover, and that subtle glimmer caused the dripping trees to shine as if they were strung with lights.
The effect was especially striking when the twigs were as scarlet as these of Red Osier Dogwood.
With days as gray as they've been all week, such spots of color are really welcome. See how Witch Hazel just seems to glow, its dry leaves colored so rich and warm even when soaking wet.
The bracts of its long-gone flowers are pretty, too, like tiny four-petaled blooms.
I found quite a bit of Wood Ear fungus growing on branches the wind had knocked down from the trees. I have read that this fungus not only tastes good (it's similar to the kind we find in many Chinese dishes), but it's also very health-promoting, containing a substance that protects the heart. I should have brought along a bag to take some home. At least now I know where some grows.
Heading home over Mount McGregor, I experienced the effect of altitude on air temperature. Down along the river, the snow was melting as soon as it hit the ground, and none collected in the trees (See top photo, above). But up on the mountain, the air was white, the trees were snow-covered and so was the road. A very steep curvy road. Luckily, the snow started melting again when I reached that steep curvy stretch.