It’s all patchy snow and ice now, and the woods are open for business. The other day I took a walk. I mean a walk with feet on the ground rather than on snow shoes or ice cleats or crashing through a crust. No gear required. Just hound, woman, and woods.
And the wind high in the trees on which winter returns to remind us that it ain’t dead yet. Going down to the bog is descending a Great North Slope still thickly clad in a shield of slick snow-ice on which, the carpenter decides while gingerly slipping and sliding and seeking deep pockets to crash into, dinosaur claws or at least the fierce nails of the hound would be a great evolutionary advantage.
Thus wiser, the hound and I return for a visit, outfitted with our serious cleats, taking note of the layered world of ice and water that is, despite itself, rising on and run over by the tide of impending breakup. Time to get to the Atlantic, guys!
With the early warmth came February geese. I’ve been worried about a couple of them for a few days, one seeming to lie down on the ice most of the time. But they were gone to my great relief, gone before it would freeze over again. And then they swam in to sight with us thinking that oh no they had little ones already — but it they had another low-slung tired goose in tow.
They are still there, two down and one up, near where last year one seemed to have died as I was watching.(Canada in Plainfield) I circle the bog mourning these tired and cold, and hungry no doubt, early geese that must always take the high hit in mortality, pushing the limits as it warms up sooner and sooner, keeping the edge on the advantage of the species as it migrates in an ever changing climate. And yet, when we get upwind, they get up and walk across the ice that has now reappeared.
I hook up the hound before he takes note of them, too, and we skedaddle up the hill. The geese need their energy for better things than walking away from us. We won’t be back for a few days.