Sunday, January 20, 2013

Unburied Summer

January 13, 2013
Betar Path, South Glens Falls, NY

Sunday. P. M. - Nut Meadow Brook.
The river is broadly open, as usual this winter.
You can hardly say that we have had any sleighing at all this winter,
though five or six inches of snow lay on the ground five days after January 6th.
But I do not quite like this warm weather
and bare ground at this season.
What is a winter without snow and ice in this latitude?
The bare earth is unsightly.
This winter is but unburied summer.
HDT Journal, January 24, 1858

Sunday. P.M. – Hudson River.
We are in the spell of the January Thaw, which arrived right on schedule.
This year it seems to have extended into a second full week, which I don’t recall happening before.
Jackie came up to visit today, and we have been indoors most of this afternoon, going over a slide presentation we are going to give next month on Spring Flowers at Moreau Lake.
Calling it a day, we hastened down to the riverside trail in South Glens Falls for a short walk before sundown. Which would come soon, it being an overcast day.
Neither of us was wearing winter gear, and so we hose the Betar Path, which is actually plowed and cleared all winter.

Driving to the Falls, we neared the River, and saw a tremendous fog bank paralleling the river valley. We parked our cars at the trail entrance, and proceeded to stroll along the path, which follows right along the river's edge.

The day got darker and gloomier as we walked on.
This warmish air, coming into contact with the thin layer of old snow, was kicking up this dense fog.
It was as if a dark coverlet was being drawn over the town.

Maybe it was because I had just spent hours looking at photos of colorful spring flowers – but the day seemed absolutely dismal.
Like Thoreau, I am wishing hard right now for a nice fresh coat of snow.
Winter, despite a slightly snowy beginning, seems to have stalled out.

So today we grasped at the crumbs Nature had left us -
-- crows raucously coming in to their evening roost on a wooded island,
-- the dried remains of various waterside flowers,  
and startlingly red globs of sumac-fuzz and bittersweet husks strewn here and there on the faded snow.

But you won’t see any photos of these things today, since none of those came out. It was just too dark and dreary.
I'm trying not to catch this somber mood.
It just goes to show you, winter around here is not all sunshine and sparkles!

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