What makes one climb part way up a hill in February and just stand there looking at the rocks and snow draped trees above? What is at the heart of an irresistible impulse to stand out in a field and contemplate seemingly endless snow and gates and fences on a bitterly cold day?
It could be simply the wild and rather melancholy pleasure that arises out of viewing expanses of snow demarcated by rocks, trees, old rails and pipe gates, nary a building in sight. Perhaps it's Zen notions of emptiness, stirred up by the sound of the hollow wind sweeping the hills and sculpting random waves and abstract shapes as it passes. It could be the inky blue of the deep shadows that lie over and around everything. It might be an unexpressed desire for the order and containment represented by old cedar rails and rusty wire, a yearning for the beguiling realms that always seem to beckon beyond summits and rude gates.
In winter, the land reveals itself to a patient wanderer as it does at no other time in the turning year. One can see the true contours of the countryside and trace its rocky bones with her eyes, feel the land's peaceful sleep and share its slow dreams, sometimes even discern the shape of the springtime to come (although spring seems far away on such a day as this). If one is quiet and observant, there are swaths of subtle color to be seen in the snow and shadows, and there is music in the wind. Who knew that blue came in so many entrancing shades?
There is no profound rhyme or reason for this morning's frozen interval on the ridge - that I can figure out at the moment. I am here among the rocks and snow people, and that is enough.