With snow still on the ground and snow in the future forecast, we decided to beat the winter doldrums by turning west towards Central New York to visit our eldest child. We selected this particular weekend since it was the opening week of a photography exhibit she had on display in a local library. After the long drive, followed by the reception for the photographer, we settled in to a relaxing weekend which would include some form of an outdoor activity.
Although the occasional snowflake was falling on Saturday morning, we headed out to the woods, known as South Woods (or Utica Switchbacks) in Roscoe Conkling Park. Once there, we donned our snowshoes and left the packed road behind us. Cutting across the golf course, I paused to admire the symmetry of a lone tree surrounded on either side by an avenue of trees.
Except for this walk up the hill, which we could have avoided by staying on the snow packed road, we really did not need our snowshoes. My husband was starting to have some difficulty with his hip as we climbed the snow covered hill, so once we reached the top we opted to continue on the well groomed trails through the woods. I do wonder if we will have matching hips at some point in the future.
As we were getting ready for this adventure, I amused the rest of my family by pulling out a pair of hiking socks that were labelled as “insect shield” socks. There were a few comments about “being prepared” in case the weather warmed enough for insects to emerge. Well, I will have you know that as we were walking across the golf course I spied the movement of a small speck on top of the pristine snow. On closer examination, I discovered that it was a small flying insect (which someone commented was reminiscent of a mosquito), probably regretting its mistake of emerging in such cold weather. I may be overly optimistic, but perhaps we can call this a first sign of spring.
Walking through this white covered landscape, I could not help but remember that by this time last year I had already witnessed signs of a warmer season to come. By the beginning of February, I had discovered shoots of spring flowers poking through the earth and a few weeks later snowdrops were blooming everywhere. Alas, this year’s new growth is insulated under several feet of snow. Where were the signs of hope that lift our spirits after a long winter? And then, I saw it! A branch displaying leaf buds that were beginning to display the colors of a lighter season. As I looked around at the different trees, I noticed that many of the leaf buds were beginning to swell as the days were becoming longer. Spring cannot be far behind.