I am trying to be proactive and carve out some time for me each week. Mainly to get out for a hike, but occasionally to get to my worktable in the dinigroom turned studio. I tend to lean towards outdoor, camera time since it covers getting some exercise too. This morning I took a trek down to the stream. The recent rain, snow and runoff, plus the beaver dams have the water moving right along. This was the only bit of ice on display, and I can’t say I’ve ever seen one quite like it. It’s a good reminder for me that sometimes things just occur, that I don’t know how things will turn out, and that I can only be so prepared for them.
The stream out back is now a series of beaver ponds, smooth and still this time of year. It is a steep but short hike to get down to, and without slick, icy spots, it’s an easy hike. In the late day light it looks like this, full of shadows and reflections. There are numerous animal tracks leading to and from the open water and along the deer path. Soon the snow will melt and the sound of peepers will fill the night air. But for now the spot slumbers under a layer of snow and skim of ice.
When I get out with my camera it is a mini vacation of sorts. It is me, my equipment and the world around me. And now, that includes Joe. Trekking along with me, trying not to get too antsy as I push just a bit farther down the trail. The thaw and freeze cycle we have had recently has made trails which have frozen puddles of flat ice to navigate. We managed to avoid any slips, and got to and from the stream in fine shape. Joe is more used to running than hiking, but this slower pace works better for us now and lets us enjoy what we see on the way. Being able to get out together is what counts.
Just up the street is a hidden place, tucked away off the road, the trail nearly filled in and hard to spot. The trail leads to an old, sawmill dam and beaver dam, both of which have nice ponds behind them. No one seems to go back there to see this secret place and enjoy the quiet and views. It feels secluded and lovely, and the wildlife are the only regular visitors. Joe and I stop by a few times a year, each season to see how things look and bask in the silence.
There is a misconception that winter lacks color, which on blizzard days seems true. But on any sunny day there is a riot of color to be seen and enjoyed. Last week this scene was buried under nearly 2 feet of snow. Then warm air swept in followed by rain and wind, changing the topography of the woods from snow covered to almost springlike views. It will likely snow again, tonight the temperatures will drop encasing these seasonal ponds in clear ice and adding a whole new view to enjoy.
The final day of 2017 has drawn to a close, another year now in the history books. There are now scant minutes added onto the daylight hours, each a step away from winter. Soon the light will have a noticeably different slant as the earth continues the age-old tilt of the ongoing seasons. It has been cold, but a walk outdoors in such weather blows out the cobwebs that form when stuck inside too long. New boot, a warm jacket, gloves and headgear serve to keep the chill at bay to get some much needed exercise. I am both wind and solar powered, needing to be out of doors on a regular basis to keep myself in top form, both mentally and physically. It gives me the space and pace I need to set things in motion and feel ready to tackle the next thing on the list. It is time to say farewell to 2017 and hello to 2018.