I have always loved the woods. As far back as I can recall (and that’s a long distance, now), the woods have been the place I turn to for the things I need most: peace, solitude, protection from emotions and acts that are not always easy to understand.
As soon as I could be on my own to amuse myself and to occupy my time, I turned to the woods, to trees, to the streams that cut through and to the rocks and meadows that completed the scene. I was fortunate to grow up in a time and in a place where woods were safe and nearby. Trees and hills and meadows were all around the neighborhood, and I only had to cross the quiet street to be where I wanted to be.
For the last twenty-plus years, I have been fortunate enough to live in the woods, and to begin most days walking and meditating, often generating an essay or a story or a concept to work on later. Not today.
The snow began about four in the morning, according to the weather report. It is near noon as I write this, and the accumulation continues, closing on four inches with more to come tonight. It is beautiful, and from any window in the house I can enjoy the serene monochrome of trees and ridges, and to the south, fields; all contrasts of white and brown. What green there is has been obscured by the white weightlessness of the snow. It is beautiful I know, and I appreciate it, that’s true. I am not going out in it though, except to tend the outdoor wood-burning furnace. At some point before dark, I will clear off the truck I parked in front of the garage last night. Equipped with chains and a snow plow, it will move what has accumulated on the driveway down to the road, where the professionals will finish the job. I may have to do it more than once, and again tomorrow. It isn’t a hard job. I’m inside the cab, heater going full blast, and it only takes about 15 minutes to open the drive. Tomorrow, when the sun comes out, I might use the little tractor to clean up the tighter corners, but that will be about all I will need to do.
I miss my time outdoors. I live in the woods, but it isn’t the same as walking the trails or climbing the rocky ridges. I know that. Teddy and Buddy, the companions on my morning walks know that. We are here, where the neighbors are about a mile in any direction, and the trees are my companions as much as the dogs. We have the woods, but our next walk will just have to wait.
With a nod to Robert Frost, I was stopped by the snows on my woodsy morning walk.