The woods are somewhat monotoned at this time of the year, and so it is that small details dance in place and beg to be noticed by intrepid wanderers in wooded places.Birch conks and milkweed pods wear caps of snow, and solitary leaves dangle in their place on cords of shimmering spider silk from last summer's webs. Rocks glisten, and puddles in the hollows are outlined in ice crystals.
The local chickadees leave a trail of sunflower seed husks behind like crumbs as they follow us into the deep woods chirping, and the shrike community are draping their nourishment in nearby hawthorn trees for later noshing. There isn't a single berry to be seen on thorn or shrub, although a flash of scarlet here and there would be welcome.
Every detail seems to stand out in early winter, and I understand why Freeman Patterson calls it his favorite time for photography in the wilds. In the vast gray, white and sepia scheme of untamed places are a thousand and one small treasures inviting our attention.
In my dreams I am skiing through the high woods, and every step is attended by wind and lightly falling snow.