I should not be surprised that some stories from the marsh trail write themselves. Today, just after I slipped on an icy patch, donned my yak trax, and headed deeper into the woods, a sound like a cell phone pierced the otherwise snowy silence. It brought both me and the dog to a dead stop as we searched for the source, knowing full well we were most likely the only ones out and about. Again it rang, and a third time. And finally, despite no visual, I realized it was a woodpecker on his or her “out and about,” hammering into something she or he hoped would yield a delectable treat.
Part of this walk is along the side of an open field with a very English roll and feel to it. Often in winter and true today, the open grass under blue sky with rows of high stratus clouds causes me to look twice, for I could be 5000 miles away walking in southwest England with the dogs of that part of the family.
And finally, we come down to the rocky path across the open water, today at highest tide, so two very watery places must be forded by my beast and me, and we imagine that yes, we are intrepid.
I consider: how important is it to pause and drink in these scenes, to not rush back to the demands of the day? As we head up the road the whole scene reminds me of the campfire song so many of us once learned,
“Make new friends, but keep the old,
One is silver and the other gold.”
These are a kind of friend, the tall gold grass standing in a sea of silver water. The snow adds sparkle, and a warm winter light encases the whole.
Dog and I loaded back into the car, I remember the words of Henry David Thoreau, which title a tall book of photographs we own, one copy downstairs, the other a ratty copy I couldn’t bear to throw out. It’s called what he once wrote: “In Wildness is the Preservation of the World.” Today, how true that is.
I may be heading back to a full day of work, errands, duties and the mundane, but my heart is bursting at the beauty of this good Earth, a sheer gift.