Thanksgiving Walk in the Woods

trailsnowtrailmarkerbattellnaturepreservetammiddleburyvt24nov2016

I’m in Middlebury, Vermont, walking/hiking the Trail Around Middlebury, an 18-mile or longer) trail that makes a sort of circuit around the little college town of Middlebury.

Today, Thanksgiving in the U.S.A., it snowed for a few hours, adding about an inch to the inch already on the ground most places. The grey sky and falling white lent just the right atmosphere to the air and earth for tromping around for several hours before eating the feast. Between the Battell and Means Wood trails, the Means Memorial Woods loop, and the Johnson Trail — all of which I’ve trekked in past years — I covered a little more than 6 miles of fairly easy trail. I ran into only a handful of fellow trekkers, all of us wearing our orange and red vests or coats because it’s hunting season here.

I’m very grateful for land trusts and other land conservation groups, and for the ability and time to luxuriate in natural places.

Battell Woods Trail

Entering the Battell Naure Preserve
Entering the Battell Naure Preserve
The TAM trail signs, often with arrows drawn on them
The TAM trail signs, often with arrows drawn on them
snowladen
snowladen

evergreentreesalongsnowfieldbbattellnaturepreservetammiddleburyvt24nov2016

helpful marked maps at the kiosks
helpful marked maps at the kiosks

trailfieldsnowmountainsdistancebattellnaturepreservetammiddleburyvt24nov2016

multiflora rose
multiflora rose

A tree that had lost most of its bark had some lovely textures underneath:

 

standtreessnowbattellnaturepreservetammiddleburyvt24nov2016

 

Means Memorial Woods Loop (not part of TAM) and Means Woods Trail

power lines right-of-way
power lines right-of-way
One of about 60 tags along the .5-mile Means Memorial Woods loop.
One of about 60 tags along the .5-mile Means Memorial Woods loop.
tree trunks that fell and wedged between other tree trunks
tree trunks that fell and wedged between other tree trunks

Shagbark hickory tree:

poems attached to trees in the Means Memorial Woods Loop ... we read most of the 10 or so
poems attached to trees in the Means Memorial Woods Loop … we read most of the 10 or so

 

An old road forms part of the Means Woods Trail
An old road forms part of the Means Woods Trail
field at the Chipman Trailhead (reached from Means Woods Trail)
field at the Chipman Trailhead (reached from Means Woods Trail)

Johnson Trail

views from Johnson Trail field
views from Johnson Trail field
Johnson Trail field
Johnson Trail field
burrs in snow
burrs in snow
pond
pond
cattails
cattails
milkweed pods
milkweed pods
one tree with green leaves still attached
one tree with green leaves still attached
No Horses (the Morgan Horse Museum is close by), and No Hunting, Trapping, or Shooting
No Horses (the Morgan Horse Museum is close by), and No Hunting, Trapping, or Shooting
TAM trail sign
TAM trail sign
a living insect in the snow, in 32F weather
a living insect in the snow, in 32F weather
fall leaves in snowy trail
fall leaves in snowy trail
leafy trail through snow
leafy trail through snow
three-trunk oak tree
three-trunk oak tree

fieldsnowjohnsontrailtammiddleburyvt24nov2016

view from Johnson Trail field
view from Johnson Trail field
view from Johnson Trail field ... I like the way the distant trees blurred a bit.
view from Johnson Trail field … I like the way the distant trees blurred a bit.
barn
barn

Hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving or just a simple Thursday, some of it outdoors perhaps.

I love these thoughts about winter trees:

Few things are more directly beautiful than winter trees: stripped of all ornament, clearly etched against the changing sky, moving in the stiff manner of wood into and then back against the wind. If leaves can be compared to clothing, then the deciduous tree in winter is naked. If clothing can be deceptive, then the tree in winter is true. If leaves represent an extreme profusion of form that is more finally articulated than the eye can register, much less language describe, then the form of the tree in winter is stark, particularly against the steel gray monochrome of the sky as snow comes.

 

“But the form of a winter tree, though it may be stark and withered, is liable also to be extraordinarily complex. The bare bark is channeled and cracked, and the directions of growth frozen into the form of each branch include saggings, twistings, splinterings, angles at which the branch has reached out or up. The form of the tree is a register of its history. The coloring, too, becomes as subtle as our approach is proximate: all the grays, blacks, and browns of wabi, with perhaps the weathered white of dead lichen or the blasted green of last year’s moss.” — Crispin Sartwell,  Six Names of Beauty

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: