What makes one climb a hill on a bitterly cold day and stand freezing in a community of snowy evergreens?
It could be the wild and somewhat melancholy pleasure that comes from looking at expanses of snow demarcated by rocks, trees and hills, nary a building in sight. It could be Zen notions of emptiness, stirred up by the sound of the hollow north wind sweeping the hills, 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 could be an unexpressed desire for the order and containment, a vague and inchoate yearning for the wild and beguiling realms that always seem to beckon beyond summits and slopes.
In winter, landscape reveals itself to the patient wanderer as it does at no other time during the 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 glimpse 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 was no profound rhyme or reason for this week's sojourn on the hill - at least that I can figure out at the moment. North wind or no north wind, I was out among the rocks and snow people, and oh, the perfect light...