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.