My roommate and I set out walking through the woods, carpeted in sunset as we set out. (I think she wanted to discover some of my weekend wanderings.) Our house is in a dell. The snow is still knee deep in the hollows. Along my paths, its not deep at all. A step or two off the path and you’re digging snow out of the crevice between the top of your boots and your socks. As we traveled up, the snow thinned to very wet leaves matted over brown spongy dirt. Thinking about it now, the remaining snow pockets against the decaying leaves make the hillsides look like Holstein cows.
Branches and tree trunks have fallen like a giant’s game of pick up sticks. Some dead branches look initially like young trees, having fallen like spears, planting themselves in the earth. The only tell is the egg shaped hole at the base as the rootless stake leans towards its final destination. And so we step over and around the obstacles, with me leading a rambling way to places too near the neighbor’s. At the top, my foot-worn paths have dissolved, letting my current energy map our route.
And that’s when we discovered the road. Well, my roommate discovered it for her first time; I’ve been traveling down its ruts for a few weeks. (My discovery isn’t cleverness, just that I have no concern for property lines, following adventure wherever it leads.) It’s an old road, its purpose neglected, with a new Popular grove sprouting in the center. And it runs just below the hill’s crest, connecting one orchard to another. At the bottom is a small horse paddock. Vacant. As is the pretty ranch at the edge of the meadow.
I turned round the ranch and headed back towards our house. It wasn’t my regular route and I didn’t have any paths to aid my companion. In following me, she ended up on a turkey path. Turkeys have natural snow shoes. My roommate doesn’t. Now on the shadier side of the hill, she struggled a bit with the grade, knee-deep snow and hidden brush piles. She scraped the snow out of the crevice along the top of her boots once she reached the neighbor’s deck, stomped a bit and looked back along the hill.
The twilight was falling. We wound down our trek, me still meandering with unspent energy. She was decidedly finished. It was a lovely walk. We’d shared some new treasures and I kept a few secrets for another day.