Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Winter Takes a Pause and I Take a Walk

With last week's snow and ice and single-digit temps, it seemed as if Winter had arrived early for sure.  But by Tuesday this week, the temps had risen to almost 50, the sun came out, and the outdoors beckoned once more.  With holiday preparations devouring my days, I had little time for serious nature expeditions, but a mile-long walk along Spier Falls Road offered me pleasant riverscapes and forested mountainsides for a couple of hours before I had to hurry home to get my pies in the oven.

 The warming temps have melted most of the snow that fell last week, so the creeks and rills that tumble and seep down the mountains that rise steeply from the roadside were merrily dancing and splashing on this sunlit afternoon.

The craggy boulders that line the road are veritable rock gardens, beautiful at every time of year.  Mosses, lichens, ferns, and evergreen plants spread across the rock and sprout from every fissure and ledge.  Bright-green fronds of Rock Polypody formed a graceful arc across the surface of this lichen-spotted boulder.

Even this patch of dead grass looked lovely, like a tawny waterfall leaping out of a crack in this spring-watered cliff.

Each Spring, masses of snowy-white Early Saxifrage sprout from spring-dampened clumps of moss in almost every crack and ledge of the roadside cliffs, a truly breathtaking sight.  But even now, and all Winter long, the ruffle-edged leaves of Early Saxifrage and the starry clusters of Haircap Moss offer their evergreen beauty.

The basal rosettes of Pussytoes also cling to these rocks, their frosted-green leaves even more lovely in Winter than are their fuzzy little flowers that sprout in the Spring.

As I stood to take in the calm beauty of this serene riverscape, where mountains rise to the north and the Hudson takes a sharp turn, a pair of Mallards trailed their rippling wakes across the water and a lowering sun warmed the bare riverbank trees to gold.  I had almost told myself I didn't have time for a walk this day.  I'm glad I listened to nature's call instead.


Uta said...

You have a way with words, beautifully written. I enjoyed the trip.

Woody Meristem said...

Thank you for posting that, it brightens a gray day here in the north country.