February 14, 2019
Today is the day for LOVE! What better way to celebrate than to go for a hike in the woods and practice walking and writing. In Northern Michigan we have been battling blizzards the entire month of February. The past two days were times to stay inside and vegetate. So, I have been aching to get out in my woods!
Knowing that the North Country Trail parking areas would not be plowed, I I wouldn’t be able to park my car in two feet of snow and three foot drifts. I made the decision to venture down to an old favorite hiking trail of mine that I could access from home. I donned my snowshoes and headed out my door. It is just a half mile down the road to the woods and trail on the south side of our lake. Much of the time the trail I access has been packed down by snowmobilers, but since it was a Thursday, the weekenders were not up north yet so the trail was covered in fresh snow.
The snowshoeing proved difficult. Each step I took sunk down in the fluffy lake effect snow at least eight inches when I hit the frozen rain layer that was deposited a couple of weeks ago. The trail goes through some beautiful hardwoods consisting of maples, oak, and beech, along with a few pine trees scattered here and there.
I reached the mile mark near a boundary wire that I’ve noticed before. It’s an interesting shape to photograph as the thick wire is coiled up like a snake and then spirals down into the snow. Whoops! As I was snowshoeing over to get a closer snapshot, my shoe tripped over the snowbound “Keep Out” sign (which I seldom listen to) and down I went giggling into the silence. Got a few good photos though.
After a couple of rollovers, I finally righted myself and found a nice spot under a sprawling white pine to practice writing.
W – Walk
The Walk was difficult for sure. Drifts of snow piled upward to four feet with the regular snow depth at least two. But I love it! There is no other sound as precious in winter as the whompf of snowshoes packing down fresh snow.
A – Absorb
As I absorbed my surroundings, a sense of peace filled me with wonder. Yes, the snow does have a scent. It is the scent of serenity as it wafts its away upon the winter wind. I feel like one of these stripped hardwoods. Naked to the core, yet strong and brave.
L – Listen
The wind whistling through the white pine branches is a mystical sound, better than any symphony. I often hear a raven call once I settle in and quiet my pace. Today was no exception. They seem to like me. Reflecting back on my hike I also heard chickadees and one unfamiliar bird song. One of my favorite sounds in winter is the staccato crackling of brittle beech leaves as they hang on tight in the wind.
K – Kindle
Kindling is done best just sitting, taking in the view, and letting the feelings of complete solitude and peace fill my soul.
W – Write
Writing comes easily while being at peace.
R – Read
I chose to bring along and old poetry/prose book I purchased back in the 80’s called The Earth Speaks – An Acclimation Journal by Steve VanMatre. This book was one of the first books I really fell in love with. The book begins with this:
Let’s Just wander here and there
like leaves floating in the autumn air
and look at common little things
stones on the beach
flowers turning into berries
from the winds we’ll catch a bit
of that wondrous feeling that comes
not from seeing
but from being part of nature.– Gwen Frostic
I – Imagine & T – Transcend
Even though Ms. Frostic’s poem was written in autumn, I feel like her right this very minute. I am part of my surroundings – a living, breathing part of Gaia. I feel it. I sense it. I am spiritually awakened. Oh, to always feel this presence!
E – Evolve & Enlighten
I have evolved into a living, breathing part of these woods and I will take that essence with me into my “normal” life as I hike back into the everyday.