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
A tree that had lost most of its bark had some lovely textures underneath:
Means Memorial Woods Loop (not part of TAM) and Means Woods Trail
Shagbark hickory tree:
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