in the herb garden in winter
time advances so quickly
it appears to stand still
The air is crisp and cool, biting on the inhale, an underlying essence of pine carried by the breeze in the coniferous forest. Sunlight streams through the trees, misty from the thawing snow and ice. Traversing the swampy and unstable pathways, we tread carefully, occasionally getting mired in the mud. A joyful January ramble in the woods.
The photo and thoughts are from a hike I took with my husband yesterday. I’m semi-disconnecting on Sundays and scheduled this to stand in for me until I return on Monday. A small stone for day 8.
(Photo by Robin. Quail Hollow. 2006)
Above all, do not lose your desire to walk. Every day I walk myself into a state of well-being and walk away from every illness. I have walked myself into my best thoughts, and I know of no thought so burdensome that one cannot walk away from it … if one just keeps on walking, everything will be all right.
–SOREN KIERKEGAARD, Danish philosopher, 1813-55
(January 2006. Photo by Robin)
“Antisthenes says that in a certain faraway land the cold is so intense that words freeze as soon as they are uttered, and after some time then thaw and become audible, so that words spoken in winter go unheard until the next summer.” — Plutarch, Moralia
Early morning in Quail Hollow. The LovelyMan and I are hiking along the woodlands path, following it up the hill and then down into the hollow where it connects with the peat bog pathway and boardwalk. The woods are still, frozen in quiet on this wintry morning. The only sound is that of our footsteps crunching on the frozen leaves which cover the path.
Our words don’t freeze, but our breaths do, crystalizing as we exhale. My nose feels frozen from the inside out and my cheeks are numb. I’m thankful for the layers of clothing I put on, starting with the thermal undergarments, because other than my extremities, I’m pretty toasty. The hiking keeps me warm, too.
We reach the boardwalk and I see that things aren’t as still and quiet as I’d thought. There are raccoon prints everywhere on the boardwalk, going in all directions. The prints are still wet, standing out on the frosty wood of the boardwalk. Raccoons are nocturnal animals. This one must have been late in going to bed for the day, perhaps dousing (as raccoons will do) one last snack before settling in to sleep.
I look, hoping to catch a glimpse of the masked and dexterous creature. It is said that masks are powerful and magical tools, and that the curious raccoon is a master of disguise and transformation.
I wonder what power and magic the raccoon brought to these woods on this frosty morn. We follow in the footsteps of the raccoon, walking along the boardwalk until we are led back into the mystery of the woods.