A Winter Walk in the Woods
The morning’s pale lemony light colors the winter’s woods against an aqua sky. Short, snow-covered evergreens stand like so many snowmen under the bare arch of larger forest trees.
Stillness and silence prevail.
Bundled up in long underwear and down outerwear, I hike an isolated forest road at minus 8 degrees. There are no people, no cars, no noise. Even the wind has abandoned the woods, giving the voices of the singing pines a measure’s rest.
Rolling through the forest like a flowing white ribbon, the snow-packed road beneath my boots is laced with swirls of sand that the snowplow has sprinkled in the pre-dawn hours like a forest fairy on a mission.
My breath has frosted up the edge of my face scarf, so I stop to adjust it on a birch- and pine-studded hill and breathe in the peace that has been presented me.
I am utterly alone. At least I think I am, until my eyes catch the flicker of a winged shadow high against the white bark of a birch tree. I stand motionless, and slowly the shadow circles the tree and shows itself as a hairy woodpecker, its black and white feathers and red-capped head a breath of beauty in this frozen arena.
Full of vim and vigor, his rat-ta-tap-tap against the tree sounds surprisingly like a message in Morse code. What could he be saying, I wonder? Growing chilled, I listen a little longer then head on down the road.
“Start small!” his drumming seems to call out to my retreating back.
“Dream big!” echoes the forest.
And for a moment, the world feels a little bit warmer as the woodpecker’s song sings me home.
I’m Marnie Mamminga, and that’s my perspective.