May 3, 2009

Walking in Wilmington - January 30

The sun is setting. The last bursts of light filter through the bare branches of the tree, Snow blankets the ground. Concave imprints of all shapes, depths, and widths indicate many somethings and someones have been here. The air is dry and cold. Nothing moves, nothing speaks. No birds land on the peak of the snow mountain that fills their feeder/bath.

Bits of sky peak through the ever moving, ever changing clouds. Dark and thick in the middle. Soft, bright, pink-tinted and smokey at the edges. The electric power lines only distract slightly from the beauty. A blip in the skyscape. The shapes of the trees stand out against the background of the skyscape and light of the setting sun. Some long and straight. Some rounded and squiggly. All dormant, reaching and waiting for the right light, the right warmth for extended periods of time before blooming and thickening with leaves and/or flowers.

The stump of a dead tree seems somehow alive. It's bark is not as brittle and fragile as it looks. It is strong enough to withstand the weight of the snow. It is different colors marked with different striations; a product of time, age, wear and tear, but still here. Even in death, still useful as food for bugs, a hiding place for a small animal, a safe place for squirrels to store their bounty.

In the street, the snow and ice has begun melting seemingly from the bottom up. Shallow pools of melt reflect bare trees, pine trees and the evening light in miniature.

A trash barrel is surrounded with and filled with crystalline snow. Slowly rusting away due to many seasons of exposure to the weather. A reminder that nature triumphs over all.

Heard before they are seen, a flock of birds soars overhead moving swiftly across a heart-shaped cluster of clouds.

The pond seems a safe spot for landing, but they fly on. The pond is surrounded by trees all of a similar shape and size. A picnic table, abandoned for winter, sits beneath a tree which, when the spring and summer arrive, will provide shelter from the sun. Brown reeds poke up in places along the banks of the pond. Deep snow prevents anyone from getting too close. It is unclear how thick the ice is. In some places the ice is exposed, in others it is topped by snow. Beneath the frozen facade, fish and turtles and frogs and tadpoles and all kinds of other fresh water creatures hibernate.

Trees and brush (habitat for animals and plants of all kinds) make way for train tracks and utility poles. The snow drifts along the treeline and melts along the metal tracks. Sediment dragged in by the drain sullies the white snow closest to the tracks.

"Civilization" this way.

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