Walk in Winter

When my soul is worn and weary a walk in the woods and fields renews my strength.

c e hollis

When my soul is weary a walk in the winter woods will bring refreshment and healing. I love to stand and listen to the trees as they sigh and breath in the wind. Birds in the tree tops call and a squirrel chatters scolding me and the dogs with me. Sun slants through the bare branches and shadows sway and bend. Persimmons, bright orange, the few that managed to escape hungry coons and possums cling in the spaces overhead. The sky is golden blue with striated clouds blown by high cold winds above into long and narrow white lines.

I climb through the leaves and woodland overgrowth and spot old pinecones dark and broken but still clinging to branches of a pine tree that has died. I have always loved pinecones and collected all sorts in baskets. Pinecones are a part of the farmhouse’s decor. They are amazing in diversity and yet all still recognizable. They are the seed pods that produced and protected new crops of trees. They are the shapes of wood.

The weather has reduced some of the trees to mere skeletons of themselves. The curves and shapes of branches and limbs are irreplaceable artwork. The buds of next year’s growth can already be spotted on many of the trees. The bare bark tells me the variety of each tree and its life in the woods or beside the farm pond. Some show how the wind bent them. Some show the tenacity of fighting other trees for sunlight––reaching, stretching to sunshine.

The spider is still pretending to be part of the leaves torn and worn as can be. He is super still but my eye can spot him and so I get the shot. I never dream of walking in winter without my camera. That’s how you miss the great shots of your life going off without your camera or with a low battery. I stopped to watch the cows. The calves butt heads and romp in the pasture and when their legs tire they rest in the grass.

The cattails by the creek are dry and frowzy. They whisper of summer of dragonflies, of frogs and turtles. They report on snakes and waterbugs. The tree branches reflect on the pond. Wind sighs and dry leaves rustle underfoot. Seed pods are dry in the sun I love to find a leaf caught somewhere on the barbed wire or in water. It is like a letter from summer hanging on, waiting, watching for a gust of wind to fly.

Cows, dogs, cats and horses are curious and come to see what I’m up to on my walk. They get closer than I like. They watch. They wait and then when they seeing I am not bringing fresh hay or a bucket of grain they lose interest and go back to their grazing and exploring. I explore too and watch for birds I know. This tree trunk holds and woodpecker nest in its hollow insides. Fence posts, fences and tree branches hold treasures like streamers of horse hair, forsaken bird nests, spider webs, golden filligree leaves, wild pears––small and bitter, and grasses and plants holding seed heads or pods.

A walk in the woods on a winter day is a delight of renewal for a weary soul and I head back inside with new inspiration and hope for the times. I have filled my camera card and my brain with visions and sights as thin as shadows, as dark as tree trunks, as bright as the sky, as fragile as dried grasses, and as seasonal and precious as tulips in spring.

While the earth remains,

Seedtime and harvest,

And cold and heat,

And summer and winter

And night and day shall not cease.

Genesis 8 :22

2 thoughts on “Walk in Winter

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  1. When I was a little girl, my favorite thing to do was to take a walk in the woods. I loved to find a mossy spot and sit and listen like you to the scurrying of little animals and the songs of the birds and the breezes through the branches.
    I don’t have any woods near me now like you, lucky gal. But my memories are still lovely.


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