We’ve quickly moved from late fall to snowy winter.  The last two weeks have brought snowfall after snowfall, some were quite significant!  The forests and woods take on a whole new feeling with winter.  Stand still amongst the trees and there’s a quiet that surrounds you.  After a minute or so there’s a rustle in the remaining oak leaves that are now brittle with winter’s cold.  Eventually the birds ignore your presence and go about their singing and flitting from branch to branch.  The snow has marked the direction of the storm on the sides of the trees.  And as the sun clears the forest’s edge it lightens the entire area and sparkles off the whiteness all around.

Last weekend brought yet another snowfall (which we are all hoping is the last large snow of this winter season).  It was a beautiful snow – large flakes that drifted down and settled on everything.  The tree branches were outlined in snow, showing their structure.  The woods were quiet except for the sound of my snowshoes; with snow depths up to 20 inches snowshoes were required.  I love being out in nature during a snowfall.  Everything is magically softened and the world is enveloped in a special quiet.

cold-in-the-woods-15405_staatWe seem to be on a weekend snow schedule – the last three weekends have brought fresh snow.  However  this weekend’s precipitation has been followed by blue sky and plunging temperatures.  I was snowshoeing in the woods yesterday morning.  Temps were the highest they were going to be, 5 above, and the wind was starting to blow.  I listened to the sound of my snowshoes dropping into the six inches of fresh light snow, and the wind that was picking up the powder and blowing it sideways.  The brittle oak leaves would rustle in the strong gusts, then settle down to silence.  It was eerily quiet and foreboding of the subzero temps that were fast approaching.  Then I heard the sound of a snow plow truck, and I was reminded that I was still in the city and the “woods” I was enjoying are actually a part of the University of Minnesota golf course.  A quick dose of reality that there is nature all around us, and it offers up its beauty to us whenever we want to get out and appreciate it.