Stopping By the Woods on a Snowy Evening

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Originally posted Winter 2015….

Snow! Like a kid, I watched all day as rain turned to sleet and then to snow that was so heavy at times it was almost white-out conditions. When it let up this afternoon, the snowy woods called and I answered with camera in hand and plans to wander through 8-10 inches of fluffy snow in 23-degree temps.

Layered and pulling on boots, I grabbed some knit gloves because I cannot work the camera in heavy ski gloves. It proved to be a mistake because my fingers almost froze before I returned. With a plastic bag to protect my camera from the snow that was still lightly falling, I headed into the wintry landscape.

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Out into the back yard and through the gate, I briefly followed Mr. Mitchell’s shoveled path and, when it turned toward the front yard, I stepped into the deep snow and headed downhill toward the woods, breaking my own trail as I went. Wading through deep snow, I walked around the aspen tree on my way to the storage building, then down along the dormant summer vegetable garden and around the far end to the old barbed-wire fence left over from days when this land was a farm.

Following the fence downhill for a while, I then turned and headed across toward the tree swing, stopping to take pictures along the way. It was quiet. Only the crunch-crunch sound of my boots in snow could be heard, and there was no wind.

I turned toward the woods, entering by following trails that were covered in snow but known in my memory. There was the downed tree, the stump, the tree where I found the newborn fawn last spring.

Surprisingly, there were no deer tracks — yet — but there were two trails, one that was rabbit tracks that disappeared into a brush pile, and the other looked like it could be fox tracks that headed deeper into the woods. Other than that, it was a fresh, smooth surface of deep, clean snow.

??????????I thought of one of our favorite Robert Frost poems, “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.” In our homeschool classroom when my children were young, we often read the poetry of Robert Frost including this one.

??????????“Whose woods these are I think I know. His house is in the village though.

??????????He will not see me stopping here to watch his woods fill up with snow.

??????????My little horse must think it queer to stop without a farmhouse near.

??????????Between the woods and frozen lake the darkest evening of the year.

??????????He gives his harness bells a shake to ask if there is some mistake.

??????????The only other sound’s the sweep of easy wind and downy flake.

??????????The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep.

??????????And miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep.”

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??????????I’m like a little kid who cannot walk in a straight line. There’s so many things to see….

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??????????By the time I made my way back to the house, the fingers on my right (camera) hand were so cold they hurt but thank goodness the wood stove was cranking out heat and my fingers soon thawed.

Since it’s March, this could be our last snow of the season although later snows are not uncommon. We have one more day to enjoy this one, and then weekend temps in the 50s will start melting it away. As it soaks into the ground, it will provide water for the spring flowers that will begin making their appearance in a few weeks.

“No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn.” — Hal Borland

Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell
March 5, 2015

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