Another Winter Walk

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In a previous post, I talked (wrote for those who are bothered by language imprecision) about how the same stretch of woods can look and feel vastly different on different days.  This weekend was the perfect example.

Yesterday was spring like as the wonderful El Nino was fully in charge of our weather.  Since I’m an early riser and Rocco the wonder dog is very impatient, I tend to be out just around sun rise in the winter when the days are short.  Yesterday, there was fog.  I love fog.  First, it just gives me the ability to imagine all sorts of things looming just outside visible range lost in the mist.  Maybe it just softens everything taking the sharp edges off because you can’t really see fine details.  Sort of like an impressionist painting although not as colorful.

The weird thing about fog is that it is all around you but you are never really “in” it.  Or at least that is the way it feels since that bubble around you is always relatively clear.  Just beyond, the fog settles over things and obscures your vision but when you walk to that patch, things become clear and the place you just were is now shrouded.  Kind of like someone walking behind you and erasing where you’ve just been.  I even love when the sun comes out and starts to burn away the fog and you get these strange patches were there is just a small amount of fog hanging over an area where everywhere else is clear.

It rained most of the night yesterday and then nature woke up and realized that it is January and it is supposed to be cold so my good friend the polar vortex sent some cold air our way.  The rain turned to snow and there was a small amount on the ground when I woke up and the wind was blowing.  Welcome back to winter!  Can’t say I really missed it though.

Even with the snow, the dogs were up and ready to go.  I let them out in the yard first which I always do so I can at least eat breakfast in relative peace.  And they were off bounding through the snow but were quickly back in and ready for the walk.  If there had been more snow, I would have stayed in but, with just over an inch, I could manage with my boots.  I knew the trail would not be clear but as long as my feet stayed dry, I’d be OK.

With all the rain, the trees were wet and so there was a thin layer of ice on the upper branches.  If you’ve not lived in a part of the world where there are ice storms, there is a certain sound made as frozen small branches rattle in the wind.  The snow does dull the sounds of the outside world so it is quieter but then you had these frozen branches crinkling in the wind.  It was a vaguely creepy.  Just had to keep on my toes in case one decided to come down.  That does happen when you get even a small amount of heavy snow on ice.

As much as I truly hate winter, there is a cold beauty to seeing the world draped in white.  What was interesting about this walk was that with the rain and ice, the snow had stuck to one side of the trees.  Walking out from the car, the black tree trunks stood out against the snow.  Walking back the world was white as the trees blended into the background.  It was enough so that I actually ended up turning around just to get the contrast in views.  And to the side, the trees looked like they had been frosted on one side.

And this is why I know I’m not the strong INTP I thought I was.  If I had been, I would have come back and tried to figure out the set of circumstances that caused that and whether it was normal.  Instead, I just enjoyed it.  Living in the moment for as long as I could – it was cold and windy so I wasn’t going to stay there forever turning back and forth.

Interesting thing about the snow and cold is how my older dog, Dolly, reacts to it.  She’s a beagle mix and is at least 14 years old and age has slowed her down quite a bit.  But, she is still a puppy when there is snow.  She run ahead of Rocco stretching the retractable lead to its edge just plowing through the snow and clearly having fun.  In warmer weather, she slows way down but, in the cold, she is full of energy and life.  Of course, owing to her advanced years, she will spend the rest of today sleeping.  But, for that short period of time, the years melted away and she was a puppy just happy to be out and exploring the world.

Now, while I can appreciate the beauty of winter, I did then have to come back and shovel my driveway.  This wet snow is sometimes called “heart attack snow” because it is heavier than it looks and it is physical work to clear it.  So they always warn people not to over exert themselves – think me in my previous less healthier version, I was a prime candidate for this.  No heart attacks here but my shoulder is now killing me.  Doesn’t help that TrainerGuy decided to give me extra work on Friday so I was already sore.  Shoveling and pushing snow didn’t help the situation.  I do have people who clear the driveway but I decided to have them come only when we get 2 inches of snow.  I may be rethinking that.

So, yes, I did manage to appreciate the beauty that winter has to offer.  But, give me a warm summer day with the bright greens any time.  You never have to shovel summer!

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