Desperately Seeking Beauty in Winter
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Sunday, March 02, 2014
By Banjie
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  Today dawned grey and bleak with light snowfall predicted. My usual walk seemed as monotonous as the unrelenting white and black landscape so I suggested to Steve that we go to Mud Pond, a place we have found beauty in spring and winter in the past.

The first time I went there we were kayaking in early spring. The water was high and the air was filled with birdsong. Geese honked in protection of nests at both ends of the pond. Redwings were nesting in the cattails and calling from their perches on waving rushes. We even saw a live snake in a shrub in one of the many drier areas of the pond where shrubs and grasses are thick. We returned a few years later in mid winter to explore places unreachable by kayak or foot but made accessible by the ice. We found many bird nests in rotten tree stumps, a redwing blackbird nest of woven cattails and piles of shiny fish scales among the bogs indicating other life forms - maybe Fisher cats? 

Today the ice was the color of skim milk and networked with thick cracks. We 'shoe skated' across the open ice to the far shore where we had explored the last time. Soon we were lost in examination of curled grasses, various seed pods, lichen, purplish leaves and rose hips.

This shrubby area had thick snow that sometimes supported our weight and sometimes did not. It was crisscrossed with tracks of deer and bear. Undoubtedly smaller animals had been here too but the snow was too hard or deep to show their tracks. Today there was not a bird or animal to be seen. The only sound was a chainsaw in the distance. 

Wandering toward shore we encountered an area of shallow open water with a sandy bottom that suggested spring. Eventually we found ourselves in a wetland of bogs, cattails and softer snow so decided to head back toward the middle of the pond.

Then we came upon a small stream that would have to be crossed. Ever valiant, Steve insisted on crossing first although neither of us was concerned. As he appeared to be safely across the snow under one leg suddenly broke away and the leg sank deep into ..........water. Very muddy icewater! Then his other leg slowly sank under and Steve was on his back on soft snow trying to lift his sodden boots and legs from the water and get purchase on dry land. I watched horrified but he seemed calm as he regained footing. Our search for beauty was over and we were hurrying across open ice to the truck which seemed the size of an acorn on the far shore. With some dry clothes from the back of the truck and the heater blasting we were soon on our way home.

Steve is fine and we enjoyed most of our adventure but I will be happier when finding beauty in nature is a simple as going outside and walking around the yard.

Leave a comment:
Michael Bauer - Great story!Please keep them coming!
Sarah Payson - Sarah-I am so thankful you had each other during this past episode. Your stories within are always so welcome,interesting and uplifting. Wishing you an early Spring,lots of sunshine and very happy days ahead.
Marge - I'm glad Steve was with you. That sounds like it may have been dangerous. Take care of yourself, keep warm and find beauty in watching the nature outside the windows of your studio.
Mary - Wonderful Banjie…it seems as though spring will never come…it will but this is so trying!!!!!
Chere - Oh, this is both funny and inspirational - we, too, take these walks in the winter and marvel at nature's subdued beauty! Lovely prose, Banjie.
Alyson Cota - Banjie my dear friend, you haven't changed a bit! This makes my heart sing to see your love of nature still exists! Your story telling is artfully done. Thanks for sharing your day!
Pete - Look at the trouble you two get into! Hahahah. Keep him warm. Love you both
Ann Getsinger - You wild kids! Still…you inspire exploration despite the escapades. Good photos too.