December 01, 2002

Winter Walk Part One

I thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes. ~e.e. cummings


The sun will be up soon, and we will be heading off for our morning walk, here the week after Thanksgiving. We are now one season removed from summer and our lives have taken on a different character, a seriousness not familiar in June.

A June morning walk is a casual and spontaneous saunter in no particular hurry to go or to come back. We follow our usual loop down the pasture road, jumping across the stones to cross the creek in the Rhododendrons. There is no urgency or hurry as we amble home north along the logging road, using our hiking sticks to keep our footing in the wet grass, stopping now and then to marvel at a new arrival in the calendar of budding and blooming wildflowers. The still bright air is heavy with the familiar smells of warm earth, fields and woods, and a hundred birds sing about themselves from high in tulip poplars sprouting tiny leaves. At the end of our walk, the path leads downhill toward the meadow, and crosses the creek once more to the house.

When winter comes, our morning walks do not end. But they are no longer a come-as-you-are tiptoe through the woods. Winter walks are a deep-sea dive into cold and dark, in a submersible of wool and down. Peeking out from under visors and toboggans like diving helmets, we trudge heavily against the stern and biting currents of polar air flowing like waves over us. Without our encumbering spacesuits our frail pink flesh would turn blue and brittle as December leaves, and our expedition would never be heard from again. It takes determination, planning and a certain degree of masochistic joy in suffering, or at least a willing deprivation of comfort, to take a winter walk.

Posted by fred1st at December 1, 2002 07:01 AM
Comments

...masochistic joy eh?

Gee, I'd better not invite you for a visit mid-winter
Ever notice that snow isn't white?

Deprivation of comfort....
Fair enough. I consider anything over 75F as deprivation of comfort.
I admire your courage plunging bravely into the bowels of winter deep.
I hope Buddy is doing better. Blog on!

Posted by: Bene Diction at December 1, 2002 02:43 PM

I miss the nip of the cold on my nose. I miss the clarity of the sky and the colors around me, dusted lightly with the freshly fallen snow.

I don't miss icy roads, though.

Posted by: Da Goddess at December 1, 2002 09:02 PM

Think of the freedom that comes with being able to regulate your own body temperature. You and Ann can enjoy the morning stroll in December, while in the nearby creek, that salamander burrowed into the frozen mud bank will never know the joy of making the first set of tracks in a field of fresh snow. I'm so glad I'm a mammal!

Posted by: Curt at December 4, 2002 09:48 AM

Fred,

I have so many memories of winter treks, be they on foot, snowshoes or skis. That first morning after a new snowfall seems magical. The new snow hanging on the evergreen branches, the hiss of blowing snow, the muffled quiet makes everything feel unearthly. It's a quiet beauty that can only be experinced for brief moments over the length of winter's dominion.

Lord, but it refreshes the soul....

Posted by: DCE at December 25, 2002 08:44 PM

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