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Winter walk

CearaQC
December 29th, 2007, 11:43 AM
Winter Walk
Larry Brody
12-28-7

When Gwen the Beautiful and I first moved to Paradise, way back at the beginning of the century, we had ourselves what our neighbors called "a right fine string of winters."

Snow. Ice. Wind.

At night the temperature dropped below freezing. During the day it got up to the low 40s, but usually with plenty of sun.

The pond froze over.

Snow covered the ground for three or four weeks, give or take.

Enough snow so that I could sit on a piece of metal roofing, push off, and go sledding down the driveway without fear.

Winter wonderland weather is what we had.

Last winter, however, we had only two good snows, and the temperature didn't get much below 50 till February, and then it went way far down.

This winter, the temperature already has had its downs as well as its ups, but as someone who spent far too many years in "climes" so warm they might as well have been climateless, I'm still waiting for some snow to arrive.

Today, however, I pushed myself beyond waiting. The weather was cold enough for me to feel the need, and the energy, to go for a walk in the Cloud Creek Ranch woods.

Emmy the Bold and Decker the Giant Hearted already were outside, so they came along with me as I started down the back hill. As usual, Emmy strutted, while Decker galoomphed.

We picked our way down the trail, and as we left the clearing I was enveloped by the sensation of being in the most primal - and primary - of spaces. As though this forest was the only place there was, even though I could clearly see the outlying world beyond the gray trunks and branches.

I wore boots but still felt as though I were tramping barefoot through the spongy layer of brown leaves that covered the earth so thickly that I couldn't feel the Ozarks rocks.

"Fairy mulch," Decker said.

"What?"

Decker swiped at the ground with his front paws. "The leaves are mulch for the fairies to grow what they need."

"They aren't really fairies," Emmy explained, like the mother she is. "They're the spirits that dance all around. You can feel them, can't you?"

Of course I could. The woodland animals and - mercifully - the insects were quiet, all holed up, but the forest felt completely alive. I sensed invisible beingslife!everywhere.

Felt them capering through the sharp, fresh air.

Heard their rustling voices.

"Welcome back," they said.

And, "Where have you been?"

"It was too hot last summer for me to enjoy the woods," I explained. "Too humid. Too many snakes. And then, when it turned fall, I just forgot. I was caught up in the habit of sitting in the house instead of exploring out here."

"You missed so much," the spirits that make up the woods said to me. "You missed the buds and the flowers and the young armadillos. The vines pushing themselves upward toward the sun. You missed the pack rats collecting their acorns and the falling leaves. The trees saying good-night as they closed their thousands of eyes for the season."

The spirits continued. "Now, though, there still is time to explore. Before the snow you want so much makes the footing too difficult and sends you sliding without your metal roof sled."

The dogs and I reached the Original Settlers' Cabins. I hadn't been down to them since last March, and they'd deteriorated considerably. Roofless, the cookhouse looked like an upside down lean-to. The dogs dug around in the debris, looking for something to chase.

I climbed to the bench I'd placed on the rock ridge above the cabins a couple of years ago. Sat down beneath the wind chimes hanging on a branch overhead. "You're awfully quiet," I said to them.

A light wind blew from the southeast, and the chimes played. Unable to scare up any fun at the cookhouse, Emmy came over to me. Immediately, Decker rushed past her and - effortlessly - leapt onto my lap. He took my whole head in his giant mouth. Held it there so he could lick my face.

"Don't waste too much time," the wind chimes said. "Walk. Explore."

Decker released my head. Dropped back down to the ground. He and Emmy followed their noses. I followed their lead.

Walking.

Exploring.

Listening.

To the spirits of the woods.

My sense of comfort, my habit, my pattern already had made me lose out on so much. Nothing was going to make me miss the exploration of this day.
Copyright C 2007 by Larry Brody. All rights reserved.


Author Larry Brody's weekly column, LIVE! FROM PARADISE! appears on his website, www.larrybrody.com. He has written thousands of hours of network television, and is the author of "Television Writing from the Inside Out" and "Turning Points in Television." Brody is Creative Director of The Cloud Creek Institute for the Arts, the world's first in-residence media colony. More about his activities can be seen on www.tvwriter.com and www.cloudcreek.org. He welcomes your comments and feedback at LarryBrody@cloudcreek.org. Brody, his wife and their dogs, cats, horses and chickens live in Marion County, Arkansas. The other residents of the mythical town of Paradise reside in his imagination.

pbpatti
January 6th, 2008, 12:48 AM
Thank you so much for the wonderful prose CearaQC. you took me into the forest with you and made me feel as at peace. I hope that you have received some of the longed for snow and have gone back to the forest to explore more. patti

CearaQC
January 6th, 2008, 02:00 AM
That wasn't my writing. :laughing:

Author is Larry Brody. Usually his writings are full of sarcasm, but this one was more sweet and included his pets.

And we have had more than our share of snow! hehe

pbpatti
February 4th, 2008, 02:03 AM
:o:)Hey you silly, I knew it was not yours I just liked the piece and you happened to have put it here. so thanks again for the prose. pbp

JanM
February 4th, 2008, 10:20 AM
Beautiful write-up! If you enjoyed that, you will also enjoy Ted Andrews "Nature Speak" - it's an awesome book along the same lines as Brody wrote about.