With snow and temperatures below freezing our winter seems to be more “winter-like” now. We’ve enjoyed many mornings of freezing fog that coats the trees and vegetation with frost and a layer of white. With this rime ice the landscape seems magical, as if Mother Nature has used a paint brush and coated every branch with white. When the sun has appeared (which hasn’t been often) there’s been a beautiful contrast with the blue sky and the ice giving us that “winter wonderland” sensation.
For me this appreciation of the beauty of nature has been an escape from the sad events and turmoil that have roiled our country. I hope each of you has found a moment of peace, whether in nature, with friends, pets, or in the quiet of your own mind.
It was a cold day with a temperature of 16 degrees, but the sun was shining brilliantly and beckoned us outside. We packed our snowshoes and went to Hunt Hill Audubon Sanctuary in northwest Wisconsin. The wind was brisk, but if we could snowshoe along the tree line there was a welcome wind break. There was even protection from the wind as we headed across the prairie, and in the valleys of the steep hills we could bask in the sun’s heat. It was late afternoon so the sun threw its shadows across the landscape at a sharp angle. We soaked up the sun and the crisp fresh air of the day and enjoyed the exercise.
I awoke last weekend to an amazing winter wonderland. The air was cold and still and everything was coated with white hoarfrost. The tree branches were outlined in frost, each individual leaf was outlined, and everything was shining white. I wandered the nearby roads and saw pine trees and shrubs, oak trees and weather vanes, all outlined in white. Even though our snow pack had gotten old and not-so-white, the hoarfrost brightened the entire landscape and gave it a magical look.
Sometimes the beauty of winter takes my breath away – the clearest of blue skies, ice and frost lining the tree limbs, the bright sunlight beaming down, and the fresh snow reflecting that sunlight in small diamonds all across the frozen lake in front of me.
Winter has been fickle this year – snow, more snow, thawing, ice, rain, sleet. What will greet us in the morning is entirely up to Mother Nature. But on a recent morning it was cold enough for frost to outline the trees and leaves, and cold enough for the snow to still be lovely and white. The intense pink and magenta sunrise was fleeting and quickly gave way to fog and low clouds. The wind was still and the air was silent as I stood by this creek, reflecting the trees and overcast sky as the water meandered through the outlet.
Wishing all of you experiences of joy and wonder in the upcoming new year!