Thursday, February 22, 2007

Cloudy Morning

“Don't knock the weather, nine-tenths of the
people couldn't start a conversation if it
didn't change once in a while.”
- Kin Hubbard

Winter Sky
Blue upon gray, white on blue, more gray
Clouds layered upon cloud layer
– darker still
Tone upon tone
Accented grays and blues
Rapidly moving
Faster and faster still
Before the winter wind.

Storm is coming
Wind carries the word
Clouds post the warning
Here come the dark gray morning blues
Time to stoke up the fire
Heat up the tea
And find a good book.

We got out early for a walk along the D & H (Delaware and Hudson) Canal. We followed the levee from the outskirts of Port Jervis back toward Sparrowbush. The levee was covered with about six inches of crusty packed snow. The trail is seldom used in the wintertime but we could see that before the snow had crusted over a number of other feet had passed along the trail before us. Both sides of the path are lined with tall deciduous trees lifting their barren branches high over our heads. Old wooden power poles have begun to topple. They lie abandoned where they have fallen. The uphill side of the trail still sports bits and pieces of old rock canal wall. We startle a white-tailed deer that bounds up the side hill then stands (as though he thinks we can’t see him) and watches as we pass by below.

Our path seems almost stark as we wander through the trees. As we walk, I realize one of the reasons the landscape seems so stark is that there are no evergreens here. Our yard at home is filled with evergreens, the pines, hemlocks, rhododendrons; even the small evergreen ground cover brings beautiful contrast against the white snow.

Gray squirrels have been digging in the snow. I wonder how they can break through this thick crust to reach down to the acorns and seeds they buried last fall.

The sun only manages to break through the clouds for very short periods of time. A flash of movement draws our eyes and we discover some golden-crowned kinglets flitting through the trees. These active little birds are seldom in one place for more than a moment and they are always a challenge and a joy to watch. I have yet to capture their photo with my camera.
As we head home the storm arrives and flurries of snow begin. By noon it is actively raining. The rain is on again, off again all afternoon. A good day for that warm fire, tea and a book


Blogger chiefbiscuit said...

What a lovely description of a winter walk.I loved the description of the clouds, the animals and birds and the dark trees - and then the illumination you had as to why the trees were so dark - no evergreens. Isn't it lovely to go for a walk on a winter's day and then head home for the warmth you know you'll find there? The best thing (almost) about the walk is the return home!

10:00 PM  
Blogger Pam in Tucson said...

I how I enjoy visiting the New York country through your writing. A beautiful winter sky - lovely photo. Interesting observation about the stark appearance of the path due to lack of evergreens. I enjoyed the walk with you - your writing just brought me along. Thank you for a lovely few moments along your walk and the warmth of home and hearth anticipated. (Love the Hubbard quote!) I hope you have a beautiful weekend filled with birds, woodland creatures, and scenes to photograph and write about.

9:56 AM  
Blogger robin andrea said...

Our golden-crowned kinglets seem to have moved on. For most of winter they were everywhere, teasing me to take a picture, even though I knew they never stay still enough. These last remaining days and weeks of winter seem very long, and we're expecting a coldy snowy time of it next week. At least the snow brings a blanket of light.

10:54 AM  
Blogger Pam said...

Stark woods before a storm are eerie looking and forboding. Loved the pictures and especially the poem.

Enjoyed the walk, too!

11:11 AM  
Blogger turnip said...

I grew up in NY State and really miss it. I love reading your posts about the trails and landscape I used to run and hike through. I also loved the quote at the beginning of your post - hilarious!

11:57 AM  
Blogger Jessie said...

"Storm is coming
Wind carries the word
Clouds post the warning"

my heart literally skipped a beat with excitement when i read those words. i agree--a good day for a warm fire, tea, and books...oh, i soooo agree! :)

4:53 PM  
Blogger Tabor said...

Brrrr. It is so lovely and so cold. I saw a bluebird today...maybe spring is just around the corner.

6:28 PM  
Blogger Potato Print said...

Wow Endment,
This is as good as time travel. Your observant eye and your masterful language made me feel like I was there with you. I liked reading about kinglets since I've never seen one. But my favorite part was the pairing of cold winter walk with a book waiting at home.

6:30 PM  
Blogger Gwyn said...

What wonderfully moody photos to capture the approaching storm, along with the words of your poetry.

I have captured a kinglet on film a couple times, but both times the frame was trashed--they move too fast! Definitely a bird to enjoy in the moment.

7:37 PM  
Blogger z said...

We finally had snow out here. Both sets of foothills had 6" of snow.
Spring and snow.
The rain tore up the tree blossoms.
I do not go out when it's cold.
Great photos.
Lovely verse.

2:55 AM  
Blogger Rowan said...

A winter walk followed by a hot drink, a fire and a good book is one of life's little pleasures. I love the last photograph, bare branches against a winter sky are so beautiful. Your gold crowned kinglets sound very much like the goldcrests we get in the UK - tiny birds with a yellow head stripe and constantly on the move.

3:07 AM  
Anonymous Sandy said...

Glad you got your walk in before the storm hit. And, the storm did make for great photos!
I have seen kinglets a few times in the woods, but not here by the house.

1:27 PM  
Anonymous Cathy said...

Beautiful description! It's sunday and facing another winter storm. Maybe I'll get lucky and get a day off tomorrow.:-)

3:29 PM  
Blogger Tammy said...

We are having the same thoughts about our similar weather. Your picture's, as always, are spectacular and your poetry matches them to a (tea). LOL

8:02 PM  
Anonymous claude said...

Stunning photos! I particularly like the last one. Wonderful natural framing.

3:19 AM  

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