After half a foot of sticky, soggy snowfall overnight, today the temperature at Balsamea rose well above freezing. Along our trails, rapidly thawing snow showered from the trees everywhere in these dense woods, especially from the pines and firs, those bearers of great snow-loads.
Click pix for full size images
It fell in droplets, spoonfuls, cupfuls, bucketfuls and barrowfuls. The still, windless air said nothing while each of these sizes played their particular sounds, all around me patting, drumming, shushing and thumping their way through tree limbs, branches, twigs and evergreen boughs, then concluding each phrase with a strike on the snow on the ground. They formed an unusual percussive symphony unique to this particular circumstance, in a special variation playing upon atypical conditions in the fresh snow cover.
When or where can you hear nature using trees and snow as instruments to drench the still air in sound this way, with a variety of visual effects, too? When do you get to sit in the middle of the orchestra as it plays? It filled the air within a great dome surrounding me, simultaneously at every volume possible to my ears. Some notes played a few feet from me, ranging out to ones played barely within hearing. Some struck funny notes on my ball cap and shoulders. Continue reading →
Originally I intended to let the snowshoe path pictures in my previous blog post speak for themselves. Today, Pyrrhite’s comment on that post got me wondering about what makes Balsamea’s snowshoe paths so attractive to me that I popped off more than 200 snapshots hoping to get lucky in the handful I found worth posting here.
In pithy Pyrrhite style, I read, “I love snowshoe trails. Nothing much is quite as compelling.” Why are they so compelling? Okay, Py, you pulled the cord to muse up a scribblement. Let’s see if I have the gas to shoot through it quickly, because I am supposed to be doing something else. I may be a scribblement addict, and you an enabler.
These photos from March 26, 2013 are samples of Balsamea’s snowshoeing paths just before the big thaw. This is a taste of the blessing of Balsamea that Buddy and I walk through three times every day, all year, in all weather, day and night, without fail.
In many places the snow is still as much as 18 inches deep (hole to the left), placing the floor of the path (right) at about one foot above the ground. That is very densely packed snow, from months of accumulations and walking on it. Usually it begins turning to treacherous ice this time of year, and I rely on strap-on ice cleats. So far icing has not happened. It seems we will have a short ice spell, if any.
If my Uncle Jimmy were here, he would say, “Eat your heart out.”
Click any picture to see large views in carousel mode.