Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Snow Day

It's snowing today. There's about four inches of snow on the ground, it's still snowing, and as predicted, the wind has started, beginning to blow and drift the snow. I take myself on a walk into the woods to take pictures and listen to the quiet. No one (and when I say no one, I really mean none of our three dogs) had trampled the snow yet, so the only footprints I encounter are from small animals. As I step down into the woods, I stop. There are fresh prints leading toward the creek, and above me the trees creak in the wind, spraying me with snow. When the wind stops, so does all noise. Standing there for a few minutes, taking more pictures, I begin to hear more and more: birds. Someplace nearby a woodpecker knocks steadily. Across the creek, I see the fattest cardinal I've ever seen. But it is still quick and sings its pretty song.  
Our Branch of Hurricane Creek
At times the sun shines wanly through the trees. Just enough to cast yellowy shadows on the snow. Then the wind comes up, or the snow increases in intensity. Beyond the near-blackness of the tree trunks, the world from creekside is mostly a yellow-brown of dead stalks and leaves. Swollen hedge apples lay on the ground, partially uncovered in the snow, still a little green, but not a ripe and pleasant green, but rather a green surely walking toward the black of rot. I notice more and more birds. They are so busy, gathering seeds, flying down to the creek to drink from the water the flows between the snow. I think that I need to put up the bird feeders that way I can see these birds from the kitchen window and not feel the cold biting at my fingertips.

How lucky am I to be able to take a walk from the house into these beautiful woods? These woods, just a minute from the house. Then another slippery minute down to the creekside, surrounded by trees and animals doing there thing, and the sublime orchestra of quiet that is rural Illinois!

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