I took a walk in early November, and what did I see? In the gray light of coming winter, I saw a chickadee perched in a tree.
I took a stroll that Saturday afternoon, and who did I meet? Parading down a gravel road, ruffed grouse communed in twos and threes.
The snow fell mid-week. On Sunday I snowshoed across the plowed field. Along the shrubline, I rested upon a rock and discussed the situation with a sparrow.
In the warming afternoon, snow melted from the branch of a redosier.
I photographed falling snow the following Saturday. Through the blur of snowflakes, the trees received winter without complaint standing stalwart against the wind.
I trekked across the field on Sunday. Caught by surprise, a hare sprang from its resting place and bounced away.
A final flush of Canada geese flew overhead and bid me adieu.
The snow was deep as I turned north along the shrubline. I tightened my scarf against the biting wind. I tucked my camera into its bag and warmed my chilled fingers within my mitts. Coyote tracks followed the edges of the drifts. Fox prints pursued mice beneath tufts of grass. Grouse watched from the safety of hawthorns. Across the wintry backdrop, a train whistled and traveled south.
I listened to winter sounds as I made way home. In the fading light of the afternoon, the wind blew coldly across the field. Gone was the activity of spring, summer and autumn. Winter had encroached and settled in. My thoughts turned to the words of Henry David Thoreau, “We love to think in winter, as we walk over the snowy pastures….”
I glanced across the snow-covered field and agreed.
Henry David Thoreau, A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers (New York: Literary Classic of the United States: 1985): 80.