Needle Ice

January 3 – 9

Perfect winter sun today. Frost everywhere on hummocks of sand-colored grass, twinkling in the sunlight, turning everything grayscale. I am buoyed by the sun even though it is below 30 degrees; the sun has me feeling full of energy. I know a snowstorm is coming, and I am looking forward to it. Birds flutter everywhere, and at one point I see a blood red spot on the trail in the distance: a cardinal. Having the sun back after days of gray is like seeing again.

It’s hard to breathe deeply, and it almost smells like nothing but there are whiffs of ice and water, and fox for sure. Up at the top of the hill, I swear I see something out of the corner of my eye—a fox? And then I hear what surely sounds like an animal trotting through the underbrush. But have I made it up? Squirrels are everywhere this morning. They all look fat and shiny right now. The birds trill from tree to tree as the frost melts.

The needle ice is fine today. I love crunching on it as I walk. It’s strong–hard to step into entirely. It shoots out everywhere in lovely curves, pushing the dirt up and out of the ground. Sometimes it’s dirty and sometimes it’s perfectly white. The leaves are slippery, dull and flattened to the ground. I was scattered and lost today thinking about a million things, but I am very thankful for the walking which helps pull me out of those hard places.