Saturday, December 18, 2010

Icy Excursions...

I missed the postman and had to go into town to go to the post office. As I've mentioned before, I don't normally like to leave the house when it's snowy out. I particularly do not like to drive when there's snow and ice on the ground. But desperate times call for desperate measures.

I bundled up in warm, thick layers. I wrapped my head in a scarf and wore a cap and then covered it all up with a hood. I brought out the big Gore-Tex boots and wool socks. I wore insulting long johns and mittens. And it was "warm" today!

When I finished up and was heading back inside to the sanctuary of blankets and hot chocolate, I thought... "Hey, I'm already dressed up and it's not too terrible out. I should snag a couple of pictures."

Above is a picture of the small marshy pond behind my home. I scattered some sarracenia seeds before the snow and hopefully they'll take up here. Now it is covered over with snow and ice. The cattails look strangely out of the place, bobbing in the wind with no trace of the pond in sight.

From the small, shallow covered over pond, I went to the edge of the "cliff". It overlooks the valley below. If you look carefully, you can see the road that leads up to the property, snaking through the barren trees. You can see distant wisps of smoke from a neighbor's fire.

I guess I was feeling adventurous, because I hiked my way down the valley to the stream. I've only done this a handful of times in the past when the weather was good, let alone when everything is covered in ice and snow! But the snow made it easier to navigate the more wooded and wild areas. I followed the deer prints, treading carefully. Looking at the prints, I could judge how deep the snow was and was able to avoid things like traps, snow covered ice and treacherous falls. It would be easy to slip in a snow-covered gorge and never be found again. While I followed the prints, I made sure that my brightly colored scarf was prominently displayed. Although hunting is not permitted on the property, I wasn't adventurous enough to tempt the fates.

Amongst the scenery of winter white, faded grey and muted brown, little sparks of color could be found – the vibrant green of thawed out mosses and miniature ferns dripping with icicles, the red of wild rose hips, and the green and creams of polypores.

I found icy stalagmites rising up from the forest floor around the edge of a rock outcropping, like a wintery row of jagged teeth protecting the sleeping area of some kind of animal already left for the day. That was another thing that I was careful to avoid if possible. The property contains many of these outcroppings, some of them quite large. They are perfect for bears, mountain lions, and hunters to hide. Oh my!

I did not expect to be out for hours, wandering around in the icy cold. It's not something that I could have planned for. The sun was glinting off the snow in just the right way and I was sufficiently warm and cozy enough to embark on a totally uncharacteristic venture. I'm glad though that my explorations of the property now include excursions in all seasons.

12 comments:

Carmi said...

These are beautiful images Andrew! I would have loved to be on this walk!

Patty said...

I agree, excellent shots. I especially love your triptych, Andrew. Stay warm!

Palimpa Lim said...

How beautiful! I especially love your triptych and the picture of the stalagmite. I am wondering where they come from - I have never seen them before!
It's good to see that you are able to go outside and enjoy this winter wonderland! I normally prefer to be a quiet reader of your blog, but today I was weighed down with sorrow and took so much comfort in your blog - so I just want to say hello... and thank you!

Rebecca said...

I love these pictures Andrew - your property looks absolutely beautiful and very peaceful. I can't imagine ever not living in a city but when I see such serenity I wonder why...

Imaginative Jewelry said...

It looks like a great adventure!

Elizabeth said...

Amazing. Sunny and 70 for a high here today. But I would like a real cold snap.

Gina Chalfant said...

Your body may not like the winter, but your eyes are telling a different story.

beadologist said...

Beautiful photographs, Andrew. Thank you for sharing.

jamberry_song said...

It's a beautiful area; very inspiring, even in spite of the cold. :) Lovely photographs, too.

Sabine said...

I remember a day like that in Pennsylvania. The snow sparkling in the sun out in the old sheep pasture. And our dalmatian gamboling through the snow like a porpoise.

Enjoy the day!
Ann
mycriticaleye.com

Alice said...

Andrew you always take such gorgeous photos. I love the one of the stream.

Stay warm and have a wonderful Christmas!

SueBeads said...

Beautiful Andrew! I'm glad you are finding the beauty in Western PA!