Snow in the south is a gift of clear quiet reflection on nature. It is rarely so much to create hardship but enough to alter plans; enough to slow you down. On my walk with the dogs i delighted in the music of winter; the remaining brown and brittle leaves rattling from hardwood treetops and snow crunching below. Somewhere a pilated woodpecker hammered a snag. it was so loud it sounded like a construction site. I could hear a commercial jet and looked ahead of the sound just in time to locate it before it disappeared behind a magnificent virginia pine. The hens foraged in any snow less area they could find. The 3 barred rocks looked all the more handsome in their striped feathers against the brilliant crystalline ground.
My walk is a least a 5 mile loop over to Sally Ann mountain where from the highest ridge i can see the mountains of Tennessee on one side, and North Carolina on the other. The air is crisp and fragrant. I look for antler sheds, seed pods and interesting cones to add to my collection, but instead find the remains of an owl. The feathers are in bad shape and are not fit for collecting, but the passing of this bird is acknowledged and mourned.
Winter light enhances the linear quality of bare branches. A pattern often presents itself within the confusion of tangled vegetation that has never known a trimmer or pruner.
A braid of twisting vines hung from its host tree. Winter is a good time to find strangling vines and pull them away. What satisfaction there is when a vine high in a tree can be pulled away; sometimes the struggle is such that when the vine gives, i fall backwards into the ground. I always laugh.
On the forest floor a palette of enviable greens challenge me to a mixing duel. How does one make the color of lichen? it is lots of zinc white with a hint of oxide of chromium and a tiny hint of turquoise...or perhaps mostly zinc white and a tad of forest green. The little mosses are almost straight sap green right out of the tube.
Freezing cold water is no deterrent for Trout. She will surf the waterfall and scramble along the slippery rocks with finesse. What a comfort she was a few evenings ago as i started a walk too late in the day, only to find myself way into the woods after dark. Had snow not been on the ground to brighten the darkness, i might not have found a way back to a familiar route. I arrived at the waterfall and crossed by scooting along a massive fallen tree. Midway over the falls i stopped and watched the thundering white foam roar below me; when i looked up i could see Mars burning brightly red among an early showing of bright stars. In this moment attuned to the sheltering arms of the forest i was fearless and content. Had my derrière not been icy from my tree straddling crossing, i might have stayed out much longer.
Easter is always good company. She is my smallest chicken, but one of the bravest and most sociable of the flock. she has maintained a rather high place in the pecking order despite her size; indeed her wisdom and experience outflanks the tank-thick barred rocks in most situations.
Speaking of the barred-rocks; Vera demonstrates how she feels about these tiresome photo-ops.