Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Season's of Life

Been snow shoeing some lately. The snow is perfect for it. Right now there is a frozen crust just beneath the surface that holds you up perfectly. We still have between 2 and 3 feet of the white stuff, depending on the drifts.
(The photo is of our good friend Ken and me, taken a few years ago. We had just gotten back from a snow shoe hike, about the same time of year as now.)

We have a lot of swamp land on the back 40's and you can go places now that is difficult when things are all thawed out. I enjoy exploring places that I don't usually go and checking out all the tracks in the snow.

On our last outing we saw many tracks. Grouse, squirrel, rabbit, coyote, bobcat, fisher (I think), dog, a couple tracks I couldn't identify and of course white tail deer.

Dog tracks differ from their wild cousins in that their feet are not usually as compact. Their toes tend to spread out a bit more especially when the dog is large. There are lots of Retriever mixed breeds in this part of the country. The tracks we saw were from a large dog possibly a Labrador or Golden Retriever.

I'm always thankful when I can walk right out the back door and go out into the wilderness. You can literally go for miles on 120 acres. We have three 40's, with each forty being 1/4 of a mile across. If you walked the outer perimeter you would travel 2 miles. If you wander about the interior walking along the winding trails you can go for miles and never leave home.

When we lived in the city I felt like a caged animal. Back then we used to like going to the zoo. We used to go either to Brookfield Zoo or the Milwaukee Zoo. That’s when it dawned on me, when I saw some of the animals pacing back and forth in their cages that, that was me. I could see the anxiety in their eyes as they paced back and forth, back and forth. I was like those caged animals.

I never take for granted the freedom I now have. All the while being out in the woods going anywhere and exploring any place and going out when ever I please is something I greatly appreciate. I'm the type of person that needs a little elbow room. This is a great time of year to take advantage of the blessings of now having that.

In years past when we didn't have this freedom, we used have to seek out places of refuge. I spent many an hour along the shores of Lake Michigan looking out over the water and exploring the dunes. There is a wilderness area called Illinois Beach State Park with a number of nature trails. A favorite place, where we used to walk our dogs.

Also there was a pond called the Lagoon, in the middle of town, which was home to scores of ducks, geese and a few swans. That is where my fondness for water fowl was developed. We used to sit in the parking lot over looking the pond every chance we got be it eating lunch or just relaxing and enjoying watching the antics of all those noisy birds.

Those where things we did to get by. To have a taste of nature while being surrounded by the artificial man made environment that we where born into.

As time went by I had to do lots of things to cope while living in such a place. I'd take long walks. I used to walk or ride my bicycle back and forth to work and in all weather conditions. It was like a game I played. It was something I had to do to keep from going stir crazy amongst all the hub bub and activity of a place that never sleeps.

In the winter I equipped my mountain bike with studded tires. I used small sheet metal screws which I screwed into the tires from the inside out. I then inserted a liner to keep the tubes from being chafed from the heads of the screws. I could ride that bike in any ice storm and never slip once. You should of seen the looks people gave me as I tooled along without even losing a beat.

All the things we did then where in preparation for how we live now. Didn't know it then though. And now it seems we could say the same thing. It seems like we are being prepared for something yet to come. And I guess that's how life is. One season preparing us for the next.

Until Next Time


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Russ!

Great post!

I love to snowshoe as well but this winter didn't offer any good snowshoeing conditions. For most of the winter we had too little snow and then after we got a bunch of heavy snow in late winter, it was too sticky and made the snowshoeing really difficult.

Riding bike in the winter in Wisconsin---cool, that mental image brought a smile to my face!

It does seem that we are all preparing for the next season of this solar cycle and also the next season of our collective culture.

Best wishes!

11:59 AM  
Blogger Lynn Bartlett said...

Thanks for the great post, Russ! My son Jonathan (Turtle Mountain Hillbilly) is so much like you, in that he just couldn't wait for our move to the country. He studied everything he could on hunting, trapping, etc., and when we finally did move, discovered how different head knowledge is from the real thing! He spends lots and lots of time exploring our 160 acres as well.

10:46 PM  
Blogger Emily said...

Russ, I enjoyed reading about the hikes you've taken. We're not able to do that on our own land but do get out into nature as much as possible. No matter what the season, there is nothing like being outside in the absolute enormity and astounding beauty of God's creation to bring a return of perspective.....what is man that thou art mindful of him? There is always something new to see; each journey is an adventure. May our lives in Christ be ever so.

3:48 PM  

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