Ice Map

Inspired by One Word Sunday: Ice

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The ground during a winter walk through the woods always surprises me. The layers of crunchy fall leaves at first covered with mud. Then snow. More mud. Ice.

More than a little depressing…and challenging to navigate. And why I don’t often walk in the woods during the winter months.

However, one day in January I noticed the sun was actually shining for more than 5 minutes. It wasn’t too terribly cold. Cabin fever was setting in. I dug my rubber boot shoes out of the closet. Grabbed my camera. And off I went.

As expected the path was sloppy. Although patches of ice greeted me, much of it had started to melt on the surface – thanks to the sun.

Fortunately I was looking down – mostly to prevent a slip and fall scenario…how embarrassing would that be – and discovered what looked like a topographical map of ice. In the middle of a clearing under the high tension lines. Still in place despite the late day sun.

Whoa.

Bending. Crouching down. Balancing.  So many fascinating views through the camera’s lens.

Here is one example…

ice patch

 

also…photo a day challenge: End with the letter E

Sunshine’s Macro Monday: Exposed

Inspired by Sunshine’s Macro Monday #25

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A Walk in the Woods

I wasn’t sure how the tree remained upright…extending high above my head.

Its shredding rotted spindly branches barely hanging on.

Stripped of bark, listing to the side, full of holes…it somehow had survived…now completely naked.

Not a speck of green. No signs of life. It seemed odd. Out of place…surrounded by so many healthy trees.

Surely a potential danger to humans walking by.

I wonder if the wildlife in this patch of woods are done doing their damage…

tree stripped

Peaceful place

Inspired by Frank at Dutch goes the Photo: Peace

…share posts that evoke the sense of peace for you, in whatever form that might take.

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Several months ago, I discovered a small clearing in the woods in back of my condo building…which I often gravitate to when I am out for a walk.

Even though I can still hear the roar of the traffic from the nearby highway, it is my peaceful place. I often wish there was a place to sit.

Perhaps the coincidence traces back decades to when I used to spend afternoons out exploring the wooded area down the street with my friend Kathleen. Gathering rocks and leaves and the odd rusty nail in an old bucket. Or – alone – perched in a tree in my front yard, hidden from the world…as deep in thought as a 9 year old can be. I always felt a sense of belonging…and a sense of lightness being in the out-of-doors.

Although now there is no tree climbing…

…that sense of belonging continues.

 

Sunshine’s Macro Monday – Almost Underfoot

Inspired by Sunshine’s Macro Monday #18

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During a walk in the woods a week or so ago, I remembered to look down.

Then I got a bit closer…

Let’s not forget what has fallen off those trees with the once gorgeous leaves and needles.

Before everything is crunched and flattened on the ground by wildlife or walkers such as myself.

Before it all eventually disappears…under the snow.

I believe there is always something eye catching in nature…even at the end of the life cycle.

Wait for it

V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #71: Wait

Explore with me, if you will, the concept of waiting.

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Was this the spot? Where it waited for me a couple of days ago? Before the first frost on the horizon could put it on hold…

deep woods

Camera in hand, I had waited until late afternoon to catch the sunlight filtering through the trees. I thought I was dressed appropriately. Jeans. Sneakers. Jacket. It wasn’t really very cold. The woods were deserted. The path well covered with leaves.

However, I needed to go deeper into the woods to catch the best lighting. I carefully stomped around tree branches, prickly vines, decaying logs…my feet briefly disappearing into layers of damp leaves and grass. Making my way towards the light.

Despite the roar of the nearby highway, I enjoy the peaceful pull of these woods. Bordering my condo development, the local utility company owns the land and has left it virtually untouched. The smell is comforting. Familiar. Summer camp. Vacations with my kids at a lake in the mountains.

And now…retired, nest emptied, I have all the time I need to grab the camera and explore. Taking all the pictures I want to. Standing still in the damp leaves. Waiting for the light to shift. Crouching down. Looking up. Quickly focusing.

Time passes. The light moves once more. And so do I.

Maybe it was here…

deep woods 2

They say you should tuck your pant legs into your socks. This never occurred to me. My woods feel safe. A sanctuary of sorts. Like I said…peaceful. I’m alone, but not really. A lone chipmunk scurries out of a fallen tree trunk and sits feet away, unafraid. A hawk swoops overhead alighting on a top branch…before taking off seconds later – too fast for my amateur photography skills.

There are also the deer I’ve encountered over the past few months…
The mama and her two baby deer who stand motionless when they see me at the end of the access road to the woods. We briefly stare at each other before she turns, babies following, and trots away…disappearing through the trees.

This time, when the light started to fade and I headed back home, I unknowingly transported more than my camera full of new images. After dinner, I transferred the photos…got ready for bed…

And that’s when I discovered what else I had carried home. It was actively feasting on my right thigh.

WTH?

A deer tick.

After much freaking out (this was my first tick), I removed it – with some difficulty. Apparently the little critter was hungry. (full disclosure: my husband assisted)

There is a high risk of Lyme disease transmission where I live in the Northeast so we deposited it in a tiny plastic bag for testing.

The next day, I spent hours…waiting…for the doctor to call me back. Will she or won’t she agree to follow the (current) protocol for antibiotics to hopefully prevent the onset of Lyme. A potentially disabling disease which I could not fathom dealing with on top of the other health challenges I already face.

Waiting for phone calls from doctors takes on its own anxious energy. Unleashing wild imaginings, which I admit are worst case scenarios. However, when you repeatedly hear how you are the exception to the usual rules of medicine (that doesn’t usually happenI’ve never seen that before…), that’s where your imagination – unfortunately – goes. Waiting that sucks the time right out of your day. Right out of your life. I hate spending precious time this way.

After six hours, the doctor called back (the nurse, not actually the doctor – since that rarely happens) and, yes, I can take the antibiotics.

Now I wait to see if they work.

 

tick

(I couldn’t resist a macro shot of this unwanted guest…safely secured in its plastic resting place)