Sunday, January 4, 2009

Walking in the Winter, Wondering

A couple weeks ago I was delighted to find this quote from Thoreau's journal:
Take long walks in stormy weather or through deep snows in the fields and woods, if you would keep your spirits up. Deal with brute nature. Be cold and hungry and weary.
That is exactly how I feel about it and never realized that Henry had stated it so explicitly. Cold invigorates me, snow still brings a child's joy, and I prefer the struggle against the physical hardship of nature to the psychological hardship of society.

Friday I enjoyed local naturalist Larry Weber's weekly radio celebration of the natural world and his kindred delight in winter--December the 5th snowiest, and much colder than usual, too! Animal tracks in the snow! Later that morning I saw the steaming Lake, with its half-hidden ships and its own cloud against the blue sky.

Exaggerated forecasts of a snowstorm got me out for a long walk along the Lake yesterday. I enjoyed a berry-eating robin, swells-riding ducks, a bald eagle circling over the harbor (not as visually striking against the overcast as on a sunny day but still with that magnificent wingspan), the thick undulating ice water as waves approached the shore, the rising ridge of ice just offshore now several feet higher than the land, the solid sheet of ice from spray complete with diagonal icicles on a railing far above the Lake. The still loose ice which for now travels with the wind between states and countries was steadily moving through the canal into the harbor, grinding slowly against itself, then piling up in heaps by shore. A jogger new to town got more than he bargained for when he asked if he could get all the way to the distant lighthouse at the end of my favorite hike in town. My only disappointment was that my hope for a snowy hike was foiled by the fact that it didn't snow until three hours later when I was two blocks from home.

Increasingly, when I view the Lake in its many varied aspects, I wish I could show you what I'm seeing. So a promise: if some miracle of lottery winning proportion occurs and I remain in Duluth, I'll get a camera and show you. It's easy to make promises such as that; it's far more likely that in six months this blog will be focused on vegetable gardening or hoboing in the New Great Depression or not exist at all.

But for now, there's an increased emphasis on nature-related themes, which shouldn't be taken at all as a renunciation of my interest in animal issues. You'll find a lot of new links on the right but I want to point out some of them as examples of something new to me: blog carnivals. These gather posts by many bloggers on a subject and the links are then posted on a different blog each time; thus, a traveling carnival. The carnivals I've linked to are Berry Go Round about plants, Carnival of the Blue about oceans and ocean life (and I have doubts about including this one because some posts are about eating that life, but I do love oceans), Festival of the Trees, I and the Bird, and Oekologie. Following the links here will take you to a page which will direct you to the latest incarnation.

I leave the blinds up in one room overnight so the cat can have some nocturnal entertainment, and last night I enjoyed the benefits myself. On three different occasions as I walked through the room, I spotted a rabbit neighbor. Once racing down the hill from home and then along the alley, once nibbling some tree bark, and finally along the alley and back home.


Allan Stellar said...

Well, I'm hoping that you get that camera. And that this blog I like your style. And perspective.

greentangle said...

Thanks, I just bookmarked your new walking blog this morning as well.