Love The One You’re With . . . Renewing My Appreciation Of Winter

February 22nd, 2013 § 12 comments § permalink

Snowshoeing and Shadows in Winter ⓒ 2013 Michaela Medina  thegardenerseden.com Snowshoeing the Woodland Trails . . .

Time is relative, and it always seems to pass most slowly when you’re waiting. At this time of year, many of us in New England start to feel a bit down. Winter is a long season here, and in spite of what the calendar might say, it often lasts well into early spring. For me, living in the future —counting the days until apple trees blossom— only makes the winter seem longer and more brutal. When I was a child, like most children, I loved winter. Back then, snow storms meant adventure: cancelled classes, homemade cookies, sleds and snow forts. Of course once you grow up, other realities —shoveling, plowing snow, power outages and rising fuel costs— begin to steal the fun away from wintertime.

This year, I decided to take back winter, and focus on the joy. Instead of longing for the scent of moist earth and the colors of springtime, I turned my attention to the delights of snow and ice. I chased away the February blahs on a fast-moving toboggan and lightweight snowshoes; entertaining myself by flying down the driveway and rediscovering the joys crashing through paper-thin ice. Amazing what a bit of fast-paced activity will do for your mood!

Beech Leaf in Icy Pool ⓒ 2013 Michaela Medina - thegardenerseden.comA Half-Frozen Brook, Filled with Fallen Beech Leaves . . .

Tiny Speck of Orange on Ice ⓒ 2013 Michaela Medina Harlow - thegardenerseden.com And Torn Specks of Orange on Ice . . .

Winter Green ⓒ 2013 Michaela Medina Harlow - thegardenerseden.comNaked Branches Dancing in Chilly Pools, Swaying with Winter Worn Leaves and Hints of Spring Green

My twelve-year-old dog, Oli adores the winter. And why not? There are animals to track and snowballs to chase and opportunities to roll in fresh, white powder. He lives for a belly-deep blizzard; the chance to grab an enormous stick and “lead” the plow down my long, winding drive. He whines and wiggles and wags his tail, impatiently waiting for the engine to turn over so his fun can begin. Oli never seems to mind the cold when he’s moving. In fact, I can often see him smiling though the snow; digging to China as I struggle to connect an extension cord and charge yet another dead battery. “Winter is great fun.”, he says, “Quit your complaining and you’re bound to notice.”

Oli ⓒ 2013 Michaela Medina - thegardenerseden.com The Joy of Finding Abundant Beauty and Surprise in Snowy Forest, on a Sunny Winter’s Day

Oli’s right, of course. Winter is both fun and amazing. And so I vow from this day forward to end the seasonal lament. No more waiting for the arrival of sweet springtime. She’ll be here soon enough. And if you find yourself suffering from the blues, join me in building a snowman. And remember, as Stephen Stills once sang . . .

“If you can’t be with the one you love, honey, love the one you’re with . . .”

Sunset Over Barton Cove, Gill:Turners Falls, Massachusetts ⓒ 2013 Michaela Harlow From a Recent Flight Above the Valley: Winter Sunset Above Barton Cove, Gill, Massachusetts

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Tracking Animals in Snow and the Woodland Garden in Winter…

January 8th, 2010 § 6 comments § permalink

The woodland path at the edge of the garden…

On a wintery day earlier this week, after a fresh snowfall, I headed outside with my warm alpaca hat and a pair of Atlas Snowshoes. In January, the native forest at Ferncliff is living fairytale; papery beech leaves rustle in wind, and lacy shadows dance on sparkling snow. Although the woodland appears empty in winter, this is only an illusion. All around me I find evidence of busy forest inhabitants. Both hunter and hunted, the strolling fox and scampering mouse, leave tell-tale footprints in the snow. Louise Forrest’s Field Guide to Tracking Animals in Snow, has been my constant companion on winter walks for years now. Tracking guides are useful year-round to help identify local animals and follow their activities.

Following the trails of forest animals, both in the wild and around the garden, has become a favorite winter pastime. And a long hike along the ledge is a good excuse for a big mug of hot chocolate with whipped cream later…

Traffic jam in the forest – some rodent activity at the base of a tree…

The carnivore, I suspect a red fox, close behind…

Evidence of the hunted:  foraging mice…

Lichen covered ledge – brilliant green in the monochromatic landscape…

Shadows, delicate as lace on the snow-covered forest floor…

The tracks of humankind – I just discovered that someone with initials “JTA” passed through here eight years ago…

Somehow a woodland aster remains, through wind, ice and snow…

The guardian, standing silently at forest’s edge

Rudbeckia remnants – January 2010

Miscanthus sinensis and Viburnum in the morning light – January 2010

Cotoneaster berries in snow

Winter shadows and rust

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Article and photographs copyright 2010, Michaela at The Gardener’s Eden

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