Gray Good News

Finally coming out of my winter slump, just before the next polar vortex hits, the boy and I walk up through the woods to examine the windfalls that will serve as next years firewood. A long wet summer, fall, and winter have loosed the roots of several massive poplar trees from their bindings. Strong winds have helped and also finally knocked the pine trees from their tangled heads.
It is difficult to take pictures when the beagle on his leash is pulling this way and that to sniff what has traveled beneath and along the snowy path. The way is uneven and beneath the snow the rivulets run. This year they never stopped, but some bitter nights have formed a hard crust above them. Every few steps the crust breaks and I an lurched to one side or the other. I must keep track that the dog chooses the same side of the trees that I do. He is only following his nose. Closer to the ground he doesn’t care if I can ease through or not. The temptation to leave the trail is sometimes too much.

The meadow snow is pock marked where the deer have scratched through to graze. Across the brush line I see what I think is a deer curled up sleeping in the snow. I decide it is too close to have remained there while we crunched along, and then as I call to the dog to come along, the doe starts, jumps up and bounds away.

Coming down along the lane way the view across the eastern valley is pensive. Mostly it is all shades of gray, from the pillowing clouds that cover the entire sky, to the folds of field and forest rising in waves to the distance.

Although my camera can’t capture it, close up there is color to the landscape. The navy blue of the pickup truck gleams in contrast to the pure white of the snow covered field. Here the spruce are a deep green, fading to grays and black as the pine forests march along the hills. Close by the red twig dogwoods show rust and burgundy until distance mutes their glow.

You would think this landscape might be solemn. It is instead pregnant with possibility. Though the snow falls with slow fat flakes, and the temperature is just in the twenties, there is something that promises Spring. New growth seems ready to push forth. The weatherman is calling for a week of bitter cold nights, but the days will be like this. Birds call with new songs. The creek sings.