Winter Walk


Well, after a few weeks of being stuck indoors for one reason or another, I was finally able to get out for a walk. Not a bad day for it – temperature about 22F, light breeze, on and off snow showers. The wood was covered in snow, but it was only a couple of inches deep so the walking was easy. If only there had been some sunshine.

We don’t get a lot of sunny days around here in the winter and the ones we do get never seem to coincide with my days off. With so much blank white snow and ice everywhere I really would like some sun to throw some deep black shadows and to make the snow sparkle; something to give otherwise flat photos some pop.

More iceI took a bunch of photos, but I wasn’t real happy with them. I put some of the least dull ones in this post just so you can see what the conditions are like.

I’ve been hiking in this spot for many years so I just wandered around passing through my favorite spots. Through cold bristly woods, down through steep gullies, crossing ice that cracked as I walked sometimes supporting me and sometimes not, around the ponds that in warmer days have geese on them now flat still and empty white, watching squirrels dig for nuts hidden in the layers of snow and leaves between the trees.

Late in the day the clouds grew thicker and darker and started to shake off more snow. I was walking up a trail heading toward my car when I was struck by one of those moments that I get sometimes when I’m alone in the “wilderness”. I don’t know if it’s just me or if it happens to other people or not.

I was walking along with the snow falling in big flakes all around me. The sky hung low and dark above my head. Everything seemed very quiet. I stopped walking and just stood. In this small wood I’m never really that far from roads and houses and airplanes with their constant background noise, but at the moment for just a little while, everything was silent.

even more iceCivilization vanished and I was completely isolated. Nothing was happening except the falling snow. It seemed like nothing else was ever going to happen again – just the snow. I watched and I listened.

Sometimes the air was calm and I could hear the flakes gently falling on my face and shoulders and ears and on the ground around me. They made a little pfft sound. They made my nose tickle.

Then a breeze would kick up. The flakes swirled and danced, the trees sighed and clacked their naked frozen branches together. If the wind blew hard enough I could hear loud cracks as trees were pushed beyond their icy limits.

Soon it would die down and we would return to the empty quiet again. I stood for quite some time slowly turning this way and that listening and watching for nothing in particular. I felt very alone and very comfortable.

Then the rest of the world came back. An airplane flew over, a car passed on the road, the spell was broken. I started walking again and left it behind.



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7 Responses to “Winter Walk”

  1. Paul Says:

    I really like the second photo. Makes one cold just looking at it. Thanks for posting it.

  2. fencer Says:

    I really like those moments outdoors when there’s just the snow sifting down, and everything so quiet… whatever wells of energy there are that sustain us, those are the moments where they get to recharge…


  3. Kristin Says:

    Both images are very beautiful – no need to make apology for them. The contrast is there despite the lack of sunshine. Of the two, I prefer the ice falls.
    Where I live, we seldom get snow and most people don’t know how to drive in it. On our snow days, it seems to stop the world going around altogether. It’s a time out of time with plenty of silence brought on by the muffling quality of snow.
    Thanks for tramping those cold woods and water byways then sharing them with us bloggers.

  4. forestrat Says:

    Thanks everybody!

    Winter has been pretty strange around here this year. Not much snow and temperatures that have yo-yo’ed from single digits one week to the 60s (in January no less) the next. It has made for a lot of interesting ice formations. Winter is about at the halfway point for us – we’ll see what the second half brings.


  5. lookingforbeauty Says:

    Just cruising through your site again today to enjoy your wintery images. We’ve had two successive snowfalls here in British Columbia. On the coast we are not used to them and it quasi-paralyzes the population – schools closed, universities too.
    I don’t know how I missed commenting on the first picture in this blog. The more I look at it the more I find it a wonderful image. It’s somewhat austere in its simplicity (a quality I much like) and the grainy quality and tonal gradations make it quite lovely.

  6. Bernie Kasper Says:

    Beautiful images Mark, especially the first one, it definitely has a unique abstract feel to it. Great work :)

  7. fingerlakes Says:

    Very nice photos.

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