Last week, after a fresh snow and our in-the-wee-hours-of-the-dawning-morning-light walk IN that fresh snow, some of the Scholars community members jotted down their observations and thoughts, as they sat by our fire in the cabin. This is a collection of those sharings, with a bare-minimum of edits in order to preserve the integrity of their ramblings. It is great to see the flow of their thoughts and the appreciation for these regular Friday morning outings, each one a bit different from the one before.
My favorite part of my experience on our walk was seeing the snow on the ground …really fresh snow. I noticed the snow on the trees and I noticed all the foot prints on the ground. They were kind of smushed together because I was towards the end. Some were human prints and some were from animals.
I saw and heard the water running over the dam. It is high enough for us to actually swim over it, or float our kayaks over it. I saw some deer running through the forest. That was the first time we saw them on our walk. I noticed the wind blowing into my face and it felt good. As we headed back, I noticed the bridge. There was fresh snow on the railing of the bridge, just laying there all quiet and white. I noticed my cheeks were cold, but the rest of my body was warm. As the wind was rocking the trees it looked like they were ready to fall. The new snow was incredible.
I noticed footprints in the snow, and trees covered with the snow. I also saw the bridge, the dam, and the geese in the water. The snow had fallen on the trees in patterns. I saw deer, and birds, and felt wind blowing on my face. I also saw tracks in the snow, many different kinds. I noticed how the snow was hanging on different trees and fences. We all walked in the snow. It was wonderful. I was very happy to see all of it. On our way back I saw the greenhouse too, covered with snow.
My hike experience — On our early morning walk I noticed that the trees had snow hanging on them. I noticed that there was a big rock, or something like a rock, near the edge of the dam. I saw lots of animal footprints while I walked down the path. I heard the birds singing. It was nice and calming. All of a sudden I saw deer running across the path. I was glad to see that some of the trees are growing new leaves. I saw a fallen tree on the side of the path.
Guppy (David G):
My Walk in the Snow — I got my gear on to go outside for our hike. We walked down the grassy hill, that was now covered with snow, to get to the path. I loved the white and green trees. I heard the water flowing in the river When I got to the river I saw two swans. Oooooooo!
As I walked down the path I realized that this was not a normal hike. Everyone was so quiet. And because of that, I saw deer and an owl. I saw baby raccoon tracks and tracks from bunny rabbits and five deer. I loved our hike.
When we got back on the bridge I heard the water flowing again. I could tell that spring is coming soon. I walked on the slippery path to the cabin. There was ice underneath the snow. We could hear it crackling. When I opened the door of the cabin I smelled the blueberry scones that Jay had just made. I realized what a good hike it was and what a good breakfast we were going to have.
My hike experience was like a fairytale. I know it may seem funny, but it was true. When I looked around me, the trees and plants were covered in snow, and the ground had all kinds of animal tracks. I saw chipmunk, squirrel, rabbit and deer tracks. Another thing I saw was some actual deer! And also I saw an owl, swans, geese, squirrels, and a chipmunk. When I walked near some water I couldn’t contain myself so I kicked and pushed snow into it. I also thought of my dogs on the hike because when I saw the deer I knew my dogs would hunt them down. I also thought when I saw a small puddle that a fish could be in it. In my imagination I grabbed it and said “let the fishy be with you!” I wonder where all these crazy thoughts come from??? When I saw the dam I remembered how we went over it in our kayaks and how we all fell overboard one by one, and how my kayak floated away in the FREEZING cold water. And let’s NOT forget that Eren started it all when he went over the dam and flipped :). Isaac went over next, then me because I tried to help him. Then went Reese, then Ari, and the chain continued! My hike got me thinking about LOTS of things.
We got up early in the morning (it was still dark) and got our warm stuff on. I walked to the table and took a seat to wait for the others. As I sat I heard the thumping of boots on the ground and that scratching, swooshing noise of snow pants. We walked outside and start down the path, in silence.
The first few steps were slippery. In front of me, Lelya and Isaac took a spill together, probably because they were holding each other so close. As we continued down the field I saw deer and rabbit tracks. Near the river there was a pine tree with snow on it. Its snow covered it perfectly. It matched the shape of each branch and pine needle…until someone in our group shook the snow off.
Crossing the bridge I saw that there were swans out in the distance. It was hard to tell because they had blended with the background of snow. Following the trail I saw more deer tracks and as we rounded back toward the cabin I saw the actual deer. While walking down the trail quietly and carefully, I watched them, one by one, cross the same trail in the distance cantering off in the woods.
As we rounded our walk back to the bridge I could still hear the crunch of ice under my steps. I knew the ground was snow-covered, so I didn’t worry about slipping or tripping, although I still wanted to be careful. I followed as we went up and around the back entrance of the cabin, stomping our feet, getting the snow off our boots before we entered the warm building. After taking my coat, hat, and gloves off, I wrote in this journal about the walk we had.
OMG! What a FEAST I just had…and I haven’t even had actual breakfast yet! The snow had just fallen, it was early, dawning light. It appeared at first that we were the first ones to walk on this virgin snow, but noooooo…there had already been plenty of activity happening, silently and with purpose.
Our little piece of earth had been dusted through nature’s sifter with light, powdery, confectionary snow. Many of the trees were literally frosted in stripes, all on the same side. Perfect sprayed-on stencils shown on their branches, showing an exact replica of the leaves and pine needles underneath…in such symmetrical and beautiful patterns.
One of our pre-walk guidelines was to notice tracks. The first ones I saw were random amoeba-like circles, scattered about in akimbo patterns. After observing them for a while, my guess is that as the wind blew, pieces and clumps of snow had been spewed from the trees above. Yep, that was it! I had first-hand proof soon afterwards when I saw and felt it happen right over my head…and those not-anymore-so-mysterious tracks appeared. Ah ha!
So many little bunny and raccoon families had been out before us, scampering here and there looking for their version of pop-tarts and other nibblies. It was fun to get a glimpse of where they had been, wondering if their attempts for treats had been successful and if their tummies were now full.
We were so quiet in our steps…at first. Then there was this crunchy brittle underfoot. Yesterday’s rain had changed form and was now ice under the powdery snow. We all walked a bit gingerly on it…the sound seeming louder than usual in contrast to our verbal silence.
The wind was trying out its vocal cords and warming up its muscles for the day. The swaying trees, doing their own yoga, were graceful, powerful, silent as they bent waaaaaay over and back again. Thanks, Joe Reilly for helping me to see each tree’s “roots down deep”…to let the trees teach and remind me again and again to acknowledge and trust MY own “roots down deep”. The sound and power of the wind caused these tall, and oftentimes solemn, trees to laugh and sway, to dance and jive. Trees are wise, they are my teachers.
Our group stayed together, kind of like those those schools of fish that, as they travel, look like one big fish. I FELT our community, our together community, our scholars community…all together.
More and even more tracks…so many creatures had been out this morning doing what they do…and probably without complaining, but instead with promise of the new day and what they could find and what they could see…and who they could BE!
All of our Scholars were SO quiet, so quiet that we were treated with a scrumptious dessert…five springing, graceful, running and jumping deer leapt across our path in the distance…one by one so that everyone could notice each one on its own…WOW! Not a sound from deer or people. In that brief moment, I realized that we ALL live TOGETHER here. And just as we all felt inside (whatEVER we all felt) after the sighting of these deer, feeling grateful to witness them, to get sight of them, a BIG OWL flew overhead, circled over us and landed in a nearby tree. He or she had been watching us long before we saw her. What was she thinking as she saw us trudging, coming closer and closer? She decided to let us see her. She could have sat out of sight as she was already doing, but she let us see her!
The birds…so many sounds and body types. The silent swan couple…are they the same from last year? They glided on the water that is still cold as ice. Two geese friends staying close to the swans, just far enough to show their respect. Two V’s of geese squawking over head, going somewhere important. Then a bit later, one lone goose seeking his group, circling, wondering where the rest were…guess he was a slacker this morning and now has those frantic I-am-rushing-in-the-morning moments we have all felt…or maybe he’d been hurt or was helping another? I hope he catches up.
The water is ready for our kayaks, flowing quickly, much higher near the banks…begging us to hoist up those vessels, dust them off, and plunge in. Maybe next week???
Snow Hike-oooos! (Haikus)
The tracks in the snow,
Made by humans, critters, deer,
Will lead us to them.
Flying or running around
In search of their food.
At the hiking start,
One slips and falls on slick ice,
In pain from last night.
A lone wolf, he acts,
But when others help you up,
A pack you become.
Photography by Jay Langlois, Scholars Together Instructor