“I’m going on a walk,” I called to my husband yesterday. He nodded back, engrossed in a telephone conversation, and I headed out the door. The sun lit the brilliant blue sky and the mercury hung just below 40 degrees. It was a beautiful day and after a day of driving on Sunday, I was ready for a bit of exercise.
I had no real route in mind, just a desire to stretch my legs and maybe take a few photographs. As I walked down our road, I settled into myself, recalibrating, tuning into the sights and sounds. I listened to the papery rustle of bleached leaves stubbornly clinging to a small tree, and to the faint musical tones of a far-off wind chime. My eyes followed a flash of movement to spot a red-bellied woodpecker high in a maple tree. The breeze kicked up a bit and I tucked my hands deeper in my pockets and dipped my chin into my soft scarf. Hmmm, maybe 38 degrees isn’t as warm as I thought it was.
Picking up the pace, I headed down a local road that dips to cross a small stream. I stopped to listen to the enchanting gurgling of water flowing under and around ice. Looking down at the stream, the variety of icy formations along its length intrigued me. I stepped off the road and crunched through the snow-covered ground amidst the trees, edging carefully closer to the water, wanting to take a few pictures.
Then, as I neared the stream’s edge, I paused, rapt. Oh, my! I’d never seen anything like it. I stepped closer still. Between the moving water and the ice, some magical confluence of time, water and temperature had created swirled icy sculptures–stalactites of a sort. They looked poised to move, icy tops frozen in winter’s embrace. Simply, utterly beautiful. With the water babbling about me, I stared, watching the current swirl and flow about them and the light flicker and move through their depths. I wondered idly what process had formed them and tried to identify the border where ice ended and water began, but mostly I just marveled at them. I lingered for some time, ignoring the chill, thankful to be exactly where I was in the presence of such unexpected wonder. A gift from winter.