Saturday, February 6, 2010

Just a Little Excitement

I walk in the woods nearly every day. And it's always good. Even today, when I plunged through ice up to my hips and had to walk half a mile through snow with water sloshing inside my boots. (With wool and polar fleece socks, my feet stayed plenty warm.) Just a little excitement and a lesson about river ice. Between the Spier Falls and the Sherman Island dams, the Hudson ice rises and falls with the water levels, cracking open along the shore, creating open areas that then freeze over with very thin ice. Oops!

Not every walk is that exciting, especially this time of year when all seems very quiet in the woods. It's hard to find things to take pictures of. I can't photograph the whisper of wind in the pines. Or the warmth of sun on one side of my face while the other goes numb with cold. Or the fragrance of Sweet Fern catkins crushed between my fingers. Or the high peek! peek! of the chickadees as they call to each other up there in the hemlocks but hide themselves in the branches. Maybe I'll catch just the briefest glimpse of their acrobatic antics, but they sure won't hold still for a photo.

Just think of all those nature series we've watched on TV, from Wild Kingdom to Planet Earth: all those telephoto shots and hidden cameras that captured all that animal action. Then go for a walk in the woods. Especially now, in winter. It sure seems like nothing's happening. But then I see all the tracks in the snow. Man, it was Grand Central Station right here where I'm standing! Where'd everybody go?

With the crunching of crusty snow underfoot, I know I'm not likely to creep up on any critters unawares. That's why it's so much fun to see their tracks. And like this turkey tail pressed on the snow, some are kind of pretty.


swamp4me said...

Glad you didn't go any deeper into that cold water! Love the turkey tail print.

squirrel said...

Ooooh, sounds cold. Your a tough ole gal aren't ya?

Isn't amazing how when you go out anticipating finding things in nature you always do even when it looks unlikely. This seems to work for people as well as nature.

Thanks for the nice blog.

Ellen Rathbone said...

You got it in one - some things are impossible to photograph! Glad your "excitement" wasn't more problematic. Keep off the ice, lady!!! :D

greentangle said...

Yep, tracks are all I see of mammals out here too. Haven't even seen any deer since I moved here. And half the time the ground's been bare but the first flakes are coming down now to change that today.

Did hear that coyotes killed a buck on ice a few miles away and at least four bald eagles were later feasting but I didn't see any of them.