Looking Closely

If you find you are weary of the world, step into the woods, and you will be lifted back up. There is a lot to be weary of these days, so into the woods I go. Today is brisk and cold, but a kindly cold that only needs movement to warm your body. There is sun, blue sky, and no wind. By the time a mile was walked, I was taking off my hat. I dressed properly, which is half the battle. The other half is the weather conditions. All the variables were in place for a perfect walk.

A thin white layer of snow remains on the ground. Even though it’s below thirty, the water is melting in the sun, and everywhere on the snow is a pointillist pattern left by drops of water. The initial hill up always has a lot of runoff, especially in the winter, and it freezes into a small river of ice down the path. At certain points you have to be careful where you walk, sometimes the edges of the path are best. In the sun, the free melt water gurgles downhill under the ice, bubbling and animated, creating beautiful art. What is it about seeing water move slowly that is so mesmerizing?

I have given myself a challenge for the month of December: to post a picture every day of something in my walk. Every day I think I won’t be able to come up with something new, especially now with all this snow and cold. Every day I am proven wrong. I should have known it would be as such, this whole year has been a request to look closely and find the beauty, and I have never been let down. Nature is endlessly giving, and you only have to receive it. Today I gave myself the challenge to find red, and it gave me the opportunity to pause and really look at bittersweet, barberry, rosehips, and winterberry. They are all gorgeous, shiny, red, reminding me that it’s not all just snow.


Please join me for a Winter Solstice Walk on December 21 from 2-3 p.m. A short walk in celebration of the first day of winter (not a writing event), it will be in a special place in Rosendale, NY. Please sign up (at the bottom of the Walkwright page) or write to me (julia.c.sforza at gmail) if you want to join, or if you are curious and have questions. It will be dependent on the weather, and so an RSVP is necessary. Everyone welcome!


    1. I feel like I haven’t seen any fungi in a long time, but I promise I am always looking! They are indeed gorgeous, and I actually found them once on this walk. Last year maybe?

      Thanks for your enthusiasm, Laura, it’s much appreciated. One of these days, I’d like to make it to one of yours!

  1. beautiful writing as always. I was right there with you on your walk, watching the water and looking for the non-icy spots to step. I thought something similar this AM as I was sitting and waiting for the log I’d just put in the woodstove to catch fire – watching the orange glow creep up its sides in strange patterns, glowing brighter as it got hotter and then suddenly bursting into flame. Mesmerizing.

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