Surprised by green

Surprised by green

Everybody up off those couches!  Time to go outside!  The cold snap has retreated back to the north and there’s no excuses left.  We’re all headed outdoors.  Put on your warm coats, wool hats and mittens, snowpants and boots.  Don’t forget that scarf.  Open the door & out we go!

It’s 20 degrees today and the wind hardly ruffles the top branches of the trees.  Now doesn’t it feel balmy?  Let’s try to look around with “new eyes” and see something different. 

What does it mean to look with “new eyes”?  It means to look fresh, to change the angle of our view, to let the eyes wander across the landscape until something interesting shines through.  You can do it!  Everyone who has a digital camera, take it along.  Sometimes the camera reveals all sorts of interesting glimpses that the eye misses in its accustomed view.

Lean in close to meet the circling pine needles

Lean in close to meet the circling pine needles

Don’t try to navigate through that snow without snowshoes.  It’s up past your knees now.  It’s sometimes even higher than that.  You’ll falter….I can see you’re not listening.  That’s OK.  I didn’t listen to my own advice, either.  You have to watch the downed logs under the snow.  Sometimes your foot catches on a hidden branch and….down you go.  Don’t say you weren’t warned.

The birds chatter up a storm above your head, scolding and singing and cracking sunflower seed shells from the spruce branches.  The shells shower to the ground with a tinkling sound.  When you glance up, looking for the darting chickadees, light snowflakes blind your vision momentarily.  Better than sunflower husks.

White birch tendrils

White birch tendrils

Breathe deeply.  Smell the tang of snow, of deep winter.  Sweep your eyes wide across the horizon, watching for movement in the distance.  Could that be a deer?  A rabbit? 

Move your eyes close to interesting patterns in the trees, dried foliage, sun-shadows on the snow.  Peer at the snow.  You’ll be amazed at what your eyes miss when you’re moving quickly between the house and car.  Slow it down.  Breathe.  You have all the time in the world for a long winter walk, your boots crunching loudly in the snow.

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