Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Pseudo Spring


There have been a couple of very spring-like days here. Grabbing this little blink in January, it was such a nice break to throw open the windows and get some fresh air inside the house. It was also impossible to stay out of the woods.
Bob cleared a wonderful path through the woods beside the creek last spring, and it made it easy to walk along without getting caught in brambles, vines and fallen timber.
The strangest thing happens when I walk outside at this time of year. At first, everything appears to be brown and dead. Leaves of the oaks, black walnuts, and poplars, cover the forest floor, and my eyes don't pick up any other colors besides the tawny tan, beige, taupe, and moss that line the world. You would think that greens and reds would jump out, but that isn't really the case. They blend in.


It takes a while to adjust to the palette and start seeing beyond the cast off leaves. First to become visible are the maroon heart-shaped leaves that drifted down from an ornamental birch in the yard. They are leathery and shiny. Maybe the shine makes them more easily seen. Next would be the stands of garlic mustard. Nothing seems to conquer that, as it pushes up through the leaf covering. The hips on the wild roses are gone, but the stems are vibrant green. I'd passed the barberries without even noticing them, even though their bright red berries reaching out across the water now look ridiculously bright. The deer must not have figured out how to get out to them yet. Surely the birds will find them soon.


Eventually, I started to notice that there was a substantial matting of chickweed beneath my feet as I got closer to the creek bed. Ferns waved, and every so often violet leaves made themselves known.
Every so often, pieces of ice clung to leaves where they'd been shoved against a dam in the water. The air temperature was high, so it was seemed weird to see ice.
I miss the woods in the winter, and don't get down there often enough. Spring time means all kinds of plants that need to be harvested, eaten and preserved in some fashion, but winter requires that I do it just for myself, with no utilitarian reason. Maybe just getting out and listening to the babble of the brook and the crunching under my feet should be enough.

1 comment:

Laura said...

Gorgeous pictures! A wonderful taste of the woods - especially enjoyed from this concrete jungle called Manhattan. :)

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