February 24, 2007
Through the woods
One of the most difficult things about this knee injury has been spending so much time indoors during February. We've gotten all kinds of wonderful snow lately, and I haven't been able to snowboard or ski or ice skate or snowshoe. But today, I decided my knee was well enough for the least strenuous of those activities, snowshoeing in the woods behind my house.
Two friends, Long Beautiful Hair and Gorgeous Eyes, joined me. The combination of warm sunlight followed by cold night air had created an icy surface on the deep snow, and in the back meadow, we skimmed along the surface, several feet above the frozen ground. After a morning spent inside by the fire, we gulped moist air. Metal snowshoes crunched against snow as we entered the woods in single file. I led my friends through the forest to the fallen tree where I often sit and listen to the sounds of trees creaking in the wind. Today, this log seat was so piled with icy snow that when Long Beautiful Hair sat down, she slid right off and fell backwards into the snow, laughing as she went. Soon all three of us were lying in the snow, staring up at the bare branches that held up a grey winter sky.
"Which trail do you want to take next?" I asked my friends.
Gorgeous Eyes looked at me in surprise. "Trails? Have we been following trails?"
I looked around at the woods to see them from her perspective. In the deep snow, it is true, you can't really tell where any of my trails are. Because I've been stuck inside with the knee injury these last weeks, there are no snowshoe marks, no ridges made from cross country skis. The ground is crisscrossed with trails made from deer, rabbit, and dogs, but otherwise, it's all snow and underbrush and trees that might look alike to someone here for the first time. I was following familiar landmarks, trees with certain shapes or personalities, but to anyone else, it probably looked like I was trudging through the snow at random.
I took them to one of my favorite spots, the hemlock grove where the deer bed down at night. I can see why the deer like this spot, it's protected from the wind and pretty, too, with dark green branches against the white and grey winter landscape. The young beech trees hold their leaves all year, a splatter of gold. We sat on another fallen tree and talked until the cold began to creep into my fingers and toes, and then walked back through the pine forest back to the house, eager to return to the warm fire.
Long Beautiful Hair, deciding to take a rest after she fell backwards off the log.
Posted by jo(e)