Saturday, January 29, 2011

Stopping by the woods...

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
- Robert Frost

There's always something wonderful about being in the woods on a snowy day, hiking with the cornstarch crunch of snow under your feet; Surrounded by the gentle cold breeze whisping through the trees and the occasional call of a snow bird. But most of all is the quiet.

This week I spent some time in the Caesar's Creek Nature Preserve with the woods to myself. It is a gentle hike though moving through six inches of snow on the ground can be taxing on the legs over time. Hiking in snow, one doesn't have the sure foot of ground below as you move up or down the hills that make up this quiet location. While others have trod before me, it was a pleasure to see the revealing tracks of various wood creatures be it deer, winter rabbits, racoons and other smaller creatures. I knew I wasn't completely alone with a rather large doe leaped at least 8 feet across the wide path before me. In an instant she was gone blending invisibly into the background.

I especially like hiking where I will pass by a quiet burbling stream as with this one except the stream is the Little Miami River at a low point, but beginning to run more strongly as some of the snows are melting. It is still January and February is often the cruelest month in this part of Ohio. Though winter came early this year, there are no signs that nature is ready for spring yet. I did find some dormant green grass revealed sheltered by a tree where the snow had melted away. So I know I can always count on the Spring resurgence of life yet to come.

But, alas, though it is pleasant, one cannot dawdle as poet Frost continued:

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
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