My woods are flooded with snowmelt. Long puddles stretch past mossy stumps and tree trunks. During these crazily high temperatures, the snowbanks have melted, and I can walk without snowshoes, without mittens, without even a hat to keep me warm. The trees are bare, their dark branches silhouetted against a grey winter sky. Only the young beech trees cling to their gold-brown leaves. Green ferns lie completely flat against the ground, waiting for the next snowstorm. In the dark puddles, swatches of white remain, smooth lumps of ice that look like fish, or mermaids perhaps.
With no snow and no foliage, I can see far into the bare woods. Yesterday, I walked the south boundary of my property, adjusting my eyes to catch tendrils of surveyor ribbon, old fence posts that lean to the side, and bits of barbed wire long since grown into the bark of trees. We have fifty acres of land, most of it woods. In the lush foliage of summer, the boundaries can be almost impossible to find, but on a warm day in January, with the snow gone, I can find the faded ribbons, the iron posts, the edges. Dusk comes early this time of year, though, and it wasn't long before shadows made me turn around and head back home, towards a warm fire and hot bowl of lentil stew.