Thursday, February 4, 2010

Walking and Looking

My phone isn't sending the photos I've taken on recent walks, so I'll just have to tell you about them. Sigh. The wonders of modern technology.

For two weeks now, I've been seeing new catkins on the trees. I thought it was too early for that, but there they are. The old ones are brown and shriveled and dead, but the new ones are a very light green and, well, new. Earlier this week, I saw buds starting to pop out on some of the bushes on the trail. Although I tried to get a photo of them, it was too dark in that part of the woods so my camera phone wasn't effective.

Today, the water in the wetlands has receded enough to reveal sprouts of skunk cabbage. I didn't know they start out reddish-brown and only turn bright green when they're up out of the ground. There were three pairs of ducks a-courting as Rufus and I sprinted along. One couple was quite close to the trail, and I was able to snap a quick photo of Mr. Mallard.

The wetlands looked quite different today, and it took me a while to figure out why. The tall grasses and reeds have stayed upright all winter, but now they're clumped on the ground. When the new shoots grow, they'll poke right up through the old dead stuff and the wetlands will look like green meadows. But what made the dead grasses collapse? Ahhh... Now I remember. About three weeks ago, the water level was almost up to the trail. Everything was covered. As the wetland drained, the weakened stalks were left laying on the ground. That's how the grasses get a fresh start, and that's how the scenery looks clean and green and pure.

I love fall and winter. I love quieter days, cooler temperatures, FOOTBALL, and the way that distance softens bare tree branches to look all heathery. I don't mind the rain and the damp and the interesting weather. But as I've been watching the wetlands change, I'm beginning to think I might enjoy this transformation to spring and green and brighter colors. There are good things about spring and summer. Maybe this year I can let myself enjoy those seasons more. I'm definitely loving these quiet walks with my dog friend.

And football starts in seven months.


Aaron and Heather said...

I think the changing of the seasons are my favorite times of year. I love it when the mornings first start to get colder and it feels so crisp and clean outside as fall comes, and then again when those first new signs of life are sprouting up from the ground and bare branches. I love the sense of newness and fresh beginnings in spring, that feeling that anything is possible once again. And then, of course, the beginning of summer- of looking ahead to the days of freedom, lazy days, late nights, no curfew, no homework or schedules to keep... :-)

addhumorandfaith said...

This is the reason we don't ever think seriously about "moving south" to avoid our harsh winters. I LOVE the changing of the seasons. Each one of them new and fresh. Witnessing the transformation from one to the next is such a new "gift" every time.

Miss Kitty said...

What a wonderfully descriptive post! Nice job.

And I too get worried when I see catkins on the pussy-willows WAY early. I must also second what addhumor says: as a lifelong Southerner, I envy those of you who live in climates with real seasons. January brought us bitterly cold days and nights (highs in low 30s, lows in low teens), which is UNHEARD OF in central Georgia. But with the unusual cold, I found myself saying, 'I sure will appreciate spring when it comes." :-)

Katharine said...

I tried to respond to these comments a few days ago, but couldn't get my stuff to post. *sigh* Anyway, thank you for your wonderful responses, friends!