Winter on the Land
Winter is definitely upon us and it’s been a long time without solid sunlight. One of the things I started this year was a diary where I list the weather conditions of each day. So, I can say with authority that the previous post with the waxwings was the last time we had a good hour or so of bright sunlight in these parts..
Unfortunately, there’s no sun in the forecast either with rain and snow moving in after the weekend. I like the feeling of cold air on my face, biting into my fingers. I guess I’m a bit off. I’ve also found that as long as you have reliable gear you can relax into the cold. Once you release the discomfort, let go of your perception of dislike, and sort of just “be” in the cold air it’s actually not so bad. However, that being said, I’ve also been REAL cold for an extended time and, well, to be honest, it sucks. It’s difficult. There comes a point in it where it’s so hard to do anything close to relaxing. All you can think about is getting warm.
It’s interesting how the gray weather can have an impact on a person’s mindset. It’s subtle when it’s happening and a lot of people don’t realize how long it’s been. When they’re reminded it’s actually been the entire month it’s always a surprise. “Really? It hasn’t been that long has it?” It’s a survival mindset, I think, to be aware of what’s going on so you can guard against the effects.
Winter has the hushing effect on everything and there is something primeval when you walk through a still bare forest. Your footsteps on frozen leaves become a crime against it.
My trips lately out and about have not been nearly as long as I would have liked. I did get out with one of my kids to wander around a nearby nature sanctuary. There were a few things moving that day but not much, mainly crows. Crows are everywhere right now and I see them daily, sometimes a single corvid and other times hundreds flying over looking for a roost.
If you’re quiet and still though there ARE things moving around out there. A few days ago I was delighted to find over 20 bluebirds on my daily bird walk. I followed some coyote tracks that paralleled the trail of my lunchtime nature walk. I added a blue heron to my list of first seen birds in January just a few days ago.
Today, I added a new bird to my life list; a brown creeper. Three of them, actually. Unfortunately, I did not have my camera with me. It’s always a thrill to see a bird or a creature in an area where you don’t expect it. This time I was simply taking another afternoon lunch visit to my park. I parked my car and there it was just a few trees away This will make my second life list bird in a month.
I have had my camera present for few mainstays around the house. I’m always amazed by the tenacity of cardinals. I’ve watched them sit motionless on an open branch in harsh weather while other birds have taken off for the thick bushes or the interior of a pine tree.
Because of the monotone weather I get to fully enjoy the splashes of color that are not only on their way in a few months but those that are still present, even now, in the depth of winter. There’s green out there. Small islands of it against the slate gray, white, and brown. If you look for it you can find it. Miniature reminders that Spring will be here soon enough.
“Remember,” it whispers, “nothing lasts forever.”