Sunday, March 20, 2011

A walk in the woods two days before the solar equinox

A well worm path

Life under the snow

 Two days before the solar equinox, I went out for an afternoon walk around a pond and some preserved woods on the edge of town.  The air was cool, but not cold.  However, the wind was blowing making it feel colder than the actual temperature.  In these woods, the trees are overgrown and they creaked and groaned. It was the cry of a widow-maker as they branches and trunks rubbed together high above my head.  In some depressions, there is still snow, but even underneath the white blanket, life is returning. In the marsh below the pond, there is a healthy crop of skunk cabbage, a plant that’s the first to announce that spring is not far away, often popping up through the snow.  These plants have the capability to create their own heat, melting pockets of snow so that they can have room to unfurl and reach out above the marshy ground.  Spring is slow to come in these north woods.  There’s still a fair amount of ice on the pond; it’s only melting in the shallow areas. There’s still time for another snow or two.  But in a month, the may apples will pop up and the trilliums will bloom.  Then, slowly, the maples and oaks, the cherries and beech will unfurl their canopy, providing shade from the warm sun.  It could almost be paradise, but by then they'll be mosquitoes... 
snow in the depression

skunk cabbage
Ice on the pond


  1. Haha....wish I could create my own heat while under the snow. We got another 15cm dump again today.
    But you're right...all will melt, blooms will open, and mosquitoes will buzz (and feast).
    You can't ever win;)

  2. I'd forgotten about the equinox. But I was out today and it was downright warm, I had my coat on my stick over my shoulder. We get your type of winter about once every 50 or so. Where the snow lasts 'til now. What I saw this evening just at dusk was a balloon where you could see them firing the gasjets. Oh, it must have been the better part of 30 miles away.

  3. The snow is beautiful! I can get kind of down on winter, but beautiful photographs! :)

  4. darn mosquitos...nice walk in the woods is returning down here in va...4 gorgeous days in a row so hitting some trails myself...

  5. It looks very much like it did around here just over a week ago.. minus the greenery. We're all thawed out now but I'm still awaiting the growth. Thanks for taking us along on your stroll.

  6. Oh I so enjoy taking these walks along with you, (feels like it with your wonderful descriptions) I can almost hear the crunch of leaves by the shunk cabbage (I'll have to google that new to me) and your photos are just the frosting on the cake! Thanks Sage!

  7. Spring has sprung here - so hurry up and get here!

  8. Right now, my mind is fixed on the Morel Madness which is due to arrive in a few weeks, especially with the warm weather we are getting lately. Suddenly the woods will be full of people walking around with their heads down and gripping plastics sacks of fungi.

  9. I like the well "worm" trail. :) That skunk cabbage is fascinating.

  10. Hey Sage .... exactly where was this woods? Thanks.

  11. New life with the approaching spring! It has been cool here in Arizona the past two days, Sage.

  12. Beautiful place - what a nice walk.

  13. Dawn, maybe, but I'll play like I will win! Those plants are quite unique.

    Vince, it's neat to see a balloon fire up the gas when the light is low.

    Callista, You'll get NZ winter when we're in summer or will you be back then?

    Brian, enjoy the trails!

    Hillary, what greenry? That under the snow, there wasn't much of it. There is a strand of white pines that this trail runs through, however.

    Karen, thanks for coming along on the walk.

    Kenju, I'll look forward to seeing the dogwoods and azeleas.

    Ed, mouthwatering! but I haven't become the pro you are at Morel hunting.

    Charles, it took a lot of worms to wear down that path... next time, can I hire you as my proof reader? :)

    John, Thanks,

    Sleepy Head, it's back behind the high school practice field--let me know when and I'll take you back there--the city owns the pond and some acreage as an undeveloped park and then a family I know owns about 600 acres behind that's being perserved. I often cross country ski it.

    Michael, you're probably getting our summer temps about now, are you?

    Lynn, thanks.

  14. It's been warm here for as long as I can remember. We went out to the wildlife refuge this weekend. Didn't see much wildlife. Next day I went to play golf. Second hole, I saw a squirrel.

    Also, I'm having to get up earlier for work these days. Ye olde waning gibbous was beautiful this morning.

  15. I just did a short post with a photo of skunk cabbage, too. And it, too, was from a walk in the woods in a swampy area. I love walks in the woods.