“A pileated woodpecker, deep black and with its white wing bars flashing, sliced with muscular wingbeats through the forest of thick maples and ash. The back of its head sported a crimson crest. The bird landed abruptly on the truck of a maple, eyeing me warily. Then it slipped into a cavity in the tree to seek shelter from the driving snow.” – Bernd Heinrich
Sometimes nature’s majesty takes hold of your spirit and whisks you away into an adrenaline rush of inspiration and humility. Other times, you’re in a seasonal slump and the THOUGHT of such an experience seems laughable. Let’s be real. It hasn’t snowed in two weeks and the ground is icy and hostile. We’ve been hearing the same chickadees all winter. You’d much rather hole up and watch 8 hour marathons of tv shows before going outside for another walk in the bitter, cold, gray, blah winter landscape. I’m all for mid-winter tv marathons, but sometimes you also need to rely on your friends to get you up and out and appreciating the little things at this time of year. I myself was feeling pretty glum last week, but after a couple hikes with friends (and a furry friend), things were looking up. I learned a few new winter tree ID tricks, jumped on a frozen pond, re-learned a recently logged landscape, collected tiny hemlock pine cones (just ’cause), awkwardly slipped and stumbled on an icey trail (and laughed), didn’t hear or see any exciting birds or wildlife (it’s okay, it’s winter. that’s just how it is), had some fun seeing the world through a dog’s eyes, and drank some really good hot cocoa. sometimes friends and walks are just what you need to get through a long winter.