Time: 5:30 am
Temperature: 27 degrees Fahrenheit
Forecast: mid-forties by noon
I am determined to go snowshoeing as soon as it is light. It may well be my last chance at powder for quite some time.
I work at my computer, glancing every minute or so at the window, waiting for the dark to slip away. As soon as there is the slightest hint of sun, I slip into my winter gear and head for the park.
The first ten minutes are cold cold cold as usual. The wind-swept field between the road and the woods is uneven; deep drifts of fluffy snow alternate with a crusty ice surface. Lolli is confused: we did this loop the other way two days ago.
I am entranced by petite leaves on a petite oak at the edge of the woods. Once inside where the hickories tower above me, I begin to notice the birds who seem to know the temperature is rising and associate it with spring. Chickadee, Titmouse, Crow, and Woodpecker all exercise their voices. Cardinal is particularly pleased to practice several of his songs.
I trudge along in the gray light following some other snowshoer’s days-old path. He (she?) takes me on a different route than my usual and I thank him (her?) silently for showing me another way around the fallen tree that blocked the trail a few years ago.
Over the creek, around another fallen tree, up a small rise, and wham! The sky brightens suddenly and fluffy white clouds slip quickly across a powdery blue.
My whole body smiles. I see colors I never noticed before and finally understand the purples, blues, and greens used by the watercolorist when painting snow.
It has been a long time since I hiked regularly in these woods. I realize how much I have missed it. Simple pleasures are the best.