This photo originally shared on Instagram
Sunday, February 21, 2021
Watching ghosts in the forest
I can hear water burbling softly under the ice and snow that mostly hide the river below me, but that's about the only thing to be heard in this otherwise silent, resonant place.
But that silence - or rather my perception of it - is strictly temporary. The longer I stand here, the more I can hear, as if I'm gradually tuning into the rhythms of the woods. Branches cracking in the cold. Squirrels scampering through snowdrifts. A gaggle of invisible singing birds who clearly missed their flight South.
A line of trees defines the facing bank, an ethereally bare sight that looks nothing like the lush forest I last visited here a few months back. Different time, different story.
At first I think their ghostlike branches are a metaphor for a cold lifeless winter, an ideal reflection of the emptiness that blankets the lives of so many during these challenging times.
But the longer I stand here and allow my eyes and ears to pick up the subtle cues, the more I realize how wrong I first was. These trees, the entire valley, the river that carved this space out and gave it life, all of them are limitlessly vibrant, even in the midst of a deep freeze that seems to have no end.
I crack a tiny smile as I think about seasons - on an annual calendar, or more broadly in an historical context - and how they shape us whether or not we take the time to listen in on all that goes on just beneath the surface.
Indeed, all seasons eventually evolve into whatever comes next. So, too, shall this one, even if we don't stand on the snowy riverbank to take it all in.
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They play hockey here, February 2021
Half-frozen river, February 2021
Hanging on for dear life, February 2021
Amid the windblown woods, February 2021
One tree among many, February 2021
Standing under the cathedral, February 2021
The things we find deep in the woods, September 2020
The giving tree, September 2020
Where the forest covers the sky, August 2020
Staring at trees beside the Walmart parking lot, September 2019
When the forest disappears from view, December 2018