Before it snowed here, Sterling and I were out exploring the woods often. We were (and still are) in a constant state of awe and amazement as we looked into the woods from the windows of the cabin. We still can't believe how much of it we get to explore.
I guess this week I share in the pup's slight disappointment that our paws can't tread the sun-warmed stones just yet. We are still in the depths of winter here on the mountain, which had me thinking back to how much I loved wandering the forests just a few months ago!
It was the first week of October when we moved here.. Even though we still had unpacking to do, we were still drawn to wander the woods.
Each day we went out and explored little by little. Making up trails, looking for paths, and discovering amazing things like fairy hieroglyphics, glittering leaves and moss of every shade of green.
The air was just beginning to turn crisp and the leaves were starting to fall. We still didn't have the internet set up yet, and it just felt right to be outdoors as much as possible. We knew that our world would soon turn to winter and we would loose our chance to explore once it snowed.
I remember obsessively looking over my shoulder when we first started our explorations, trying to not loose sight of the cabin, checking to see if I could still see smoke coming from the chimney. We had just moved in, and the fear of getting lost in the woods was pretty real!
Sterling would push ahead, trying to make it to the top of the mountain before sunset... I can't quite remember, but I seem to recall the machete in his hand like a true explorer; and me lightly running behind him telling him to watch where he stepped and to not harm any of the plants or animal homes.
We explored the woods as much as we could back then, gathering wood as we went and taking notes for our spring explorations. We began to name our landmarks, take note of where the herbs grew, and get acquainted with our new paths and trails.
Behind the cabin is a clearing with an old dried-up river bed, (we've named the Cathedral) and above that the trees get massive, mighty and old. To the left of that, is a girls camp with fire-pits fit for singing and s'mores, and above that is a gloriously hidden water tower that overlooks the entire forest.
The forest back then felt alive and vibrant. There was color and life everywhere even though much of it was turning in for the colder months. The leaves chattered and whispered in the wind and there was a constant hint of movement and a scuffle in the bushes.
It's surprising that only a few short months ago I was out exploring, picking up feathers and feeling the sun on my face.
Because now the woods are covered in the most beautiful blanket of snow. The entrances that lead to the forest are blocked with a wall of packed snow, and the pathways are inaccessible without a good pair of snow shoes.
And the trees are quiet. So quiet. I think the silence puts another kind of chill to the cold winter..
I've lived in cold places before, but never this close to Mother Nature. Her raging storms can be quite terrifying, the icicles grow thick and sharp. The darkness and silence of winter is intense, heavy and sometimes even lonely. Though neither of us think it's the bad kind of lonely.
There is something very reverent about the wild woods in the depths of winter. Because you know that deep down Mother Earth is in silent slumber preparing for a reawakening.
And one day, though not all at once.. little by little, like the snow flakes that created the impassible walls of snow; new vibrant life will spring forth and the woods will once again be wild, alive and chattering.
Until then, it's hard to not feel into the trees and listen to the forest. Winter is a time of renewal and reflection and I feel that deep in my bones and soul this season.