Thursday, May 13, 2010

Don't you miss winter?

Some of us could live in winter year round, which is okay if you don't mind wearing multiple layers. Around the North Pole a traditional under garment was fashioned out of squirrel pelts. I look in the mirror and wonder how many of my little friends that would take. In fact I have taken some great hikes through areas that get so overgrown , this is the only time of year you might investigate them. Winter is actually a cleansing season, out with the old and it prepares for the new. We wouldn't want molds growing all year or many of us would never get away from the decongestants. It also gives plant life a time to rest.

These Canadian Geese don't mind the cold, but wait they are from Canada and it's clear to the north. Our winter must be like a vacation since there are hordes of them around me where I live. This group was taking turns floating downstream as a group, while previous groups returned to the start upstream. It reminded me of one of those carnival shooting ranges. In a group they probably stirred up more fish and had a nice buffet line to share.Where they are swimming at on the Des Moines River, the flock can take over twenty minutes to transfer from the river to a nearby corn field to roost for the night and supplement their diet with some whole grains.


There is a gentle tranquility when you are out by yourself, sounds muffle easily. Sometimes all you hear is your shuffle through the snow. Making the first human tracks into an area is fun, especially when you go back a week later and see that you were still the only person there. It brings out the kid in me to make different designs while walking across a lake. Being Golden Heart Productions, I have gotten very good at making giant heart designs in the snow as I would in the sand during warmer months. In this area I took a slide down the steep embankment and it took me over fifteen minutes to get back to where I was, after making sure there were no tears or breaks on my body. It was a crawl from tree to tree, which afterwards made me think how long I would have sat there if I was unable to move.



The sculpture and designs nature makes can be really incredible also.This is called Horsethief Cave in a large area of steep ravines and limestone, are many smaller caves to explore. My first time back here, I found two ice formations about twenty feet long. They are formed by seepage from a small group of underground streams and melt coming over the top. In one area the ice refracted blue just like a few glaciers I have enjoyed. This was the first year in about five the ice formed this nice again. there is a Falling Fern that stays green year round on a few hillsides,the only place found in the county.

A cedar has decided to grow more horizontal than upright, perhaps a larger tree broke it off. It appeared as a cross, and would be totally overgrown to find in the summer. I get a lot of good deer photos in these woods especially in November when they are in rut.I was the only footsteps in this area two weeks later, so I had a prized find. You forget about the cold when hiking in such beauty.

This is Lily of the Valley, she is only about four pounds. Of course since I like camo she has to have it, in pink please. She finds many scents and sounds to keep her busy while hiking. There are also less burrs to comb out during this time of year, but she still seems to find some.


This is a portion of the river when a light thaw pushed the surface ice down into a beautiful sculpture that would only last for a few weeks. One year I was next to the river when the ice started breaking and it was like no experience I have ever witnessed. Pieces where shooting up right next to me the size of cars. The sound was almost deafening, but I had to be as close as I could to be part of it. I thought of the silent movies where the heroine gets stranded on a flow and was saved. I don't think you could run well on these, but many have and some try but fail. As kids we often wondered if we could guide one very easily, and were smart not to try. Once going through a shallow area of ice while skating when I was ten, we started a fire and dried our clothes on a rack of branches. We always carried matches in a sealed container for emergency use, and an occasional fire.Getting home we told one of our parents why we were so late, and the phone started ringing between our parents. They were not worried so much about the hypothermia, they were mad that as ten-year olds we were carrying matches.Well I am a bit glad to see winter over, but if you had been with me you would have understood all the adventures I had. My other hobbies dwell around the warm weather, so I don't mind having the change. I will eat some greens and spinach tonight out of my yard instead of having to buy an inferior product.I still keep a pair of gloves in the car however, you never know how it can change from flat lands to the lake. A group of winter memories float across the prairie on a gentle prairie breeze.






1 comment:

  1. I don't think I exactly miss winter, but I really enjoyed it while it was here this last time. I missed seeing the Canada geese though. They all left at the end of fall, and they haven't really returned in the big numbers that they had last year. They usually live here all year long, but they decided to go somewhere else this year. And I've experienced the ice breaking in front of me too. It's one of my favorite things.

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