Saturday, January 23, 2010

Snow makes a desert of the wetlands

I finally got my repaired/replaced snowshoes back yesterday, and today I headed out. It was raining, and the snow had an icy crust on it that quickly gave way. It felt great to be out there. I almost forgot how much I love snowshoeing on our property.

Because the desert is still on my brain, I was really struck by how similar this was to walking in the desert. Of course, the snowshoes make the walking difficult, and I make a ton of noise crashing around. But I love the simplicity of the landscape. What is lush and complex and impassable in the summer just lies down at my feet this time of year. Stripped of leavesa nd flowers, there are only a few kinds of plants, and they change from zone to zone.

I really like that I can walk right through/over/on top of the wetlands. The grasses are all pushed down and under a layer of snow. A few cat tails stick up through the ice and snow, and there was one gorgeous, sharp, rain-slicked cluster of reeds I can't identify. They were walnut brown and looked like they would make great arrows, but when I went to break one off it folded like grass.

There are thorns to weave through, but well-clad, they're no problem. I went all the way to the back of the property, through the grove of pines that mak us think we have less land than we do. There's a broken-down fence at the border, and then another piece of open land. Someday it will all be houses in there, thanks to the construction of the grade school across the road.

I follow deer tracks and make my own path and, much like that long hike in Joshua Tree, I feel certain I can get back home, like there's an absolute limit to how lost one can be in the world.

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