This morning at 7:20 it was 35 degrees F under sunny (!) skies. Thought the long down coat would be overkill and chose to wear a shorter jacket, but the crisp southwest breeze made me think the long coat would have been fine. Also my wonderful fleece removable-top mittens have gone awol so finally found some serviceable old woolies. Good enough.
Rolled Rhododendron down the driveway, hearing overhead but not seeing calling birds. Woodpeckers? Nuthatches? They were easy to hear and hard to see, and didn’t stop to confirm their identity.
Farther down on Race Street heard enthusiastic birds again. This time stopped to locate them: a pair of wrens. Hard to believe all that sound was coming from these little birds! No photos, alas.
Stopped to look from under a ginkgo tree across a harvested field toward the sun-streaked bee research area.
Did not have to wait at the Race/Windsor light, hooray, (am continuing to adjust to it) and rode on to the “wonky Christmas tree”.
Noticed at my feet frost-edged leaves.
Stopped for the beloved customary view of the confluence of McCullough and Davis creeks.
In a short while, on the other side of the bridge, stopped for a view of the sun on bare (walnut, I think, and/or other) branches.
Unseen birds called here, too. Wondered whether it was the sunlight that activated all the avian vocalization this morning.
Riding on, not intending to stop, felt once again embraced by this manifestation of the prairie. As in the past, it was a safe place to feel heartaches of various kinds and magnitudes, my own and those of others, things that were my fault and things over which I had no control. Felt the soothing envelopment of these sacred surroundings. It was not an all-out catharsis but just an acknowledgment of the way it is what it is, and here I am, ready enough for what’s next.
Could not resist framing some wild indigo pods,
more and more hanging by open halves as the winter progresses.
Stopped for the sun lighting up a goldenrod seed head
and for some twisty tall Coreopsis remains with the sunlit-blond prairie and blue sky behind it.
Then there were remains of a compass plant, so sculptural, architectural, in the stages of its decay.
Felt filled with the beauty of today’s images and the memory of so many previous ones. How good that the prairie can be taken in through the senses and into the heart, perhaps then ultimately alchemized as art or somehow passed on to others, inviting them to partake of the beauty as well.
Then rode to edge of McCullough Creek where beavers had gnawed on the bordering alder trees and photographed the long-ago (four years, perhaps) beaver-chewed stumps.
Was glad to have been able to observe these ongoing changes.
My fingers were starting to get cold from stopping to remove my mittens for pictures. And my nose ran like crazy. But somehow it was wonderful to have come out and endure a little discomfort in the cold to connect my body-mind to the sunny winter morning.