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Winter Walk

Today was one of those beautiful days when the sun is is actually shining and the icicles are dripping. I can never stand to be cooped up in the house for too long, and it’s especially bad in winter, so despite the cold and the snow I go for walks outside as often as possible. Besides, such a day cannot be spent inside; the blue sky just begs me to come out!

The original plan was for me to go outside and take a walk in the woods, taking pictures along the way. As it turned out, it was quite a feat just to walk up our hill! The snow was very hard to walk through, because besides being deep, the top layer of it had frozen over.

You could almost walk on top of it. At first the snow broke apart like ice when I walked on it, but then as it got deeper, I’d sink down through the snow suddenly every now and again, all eighteen inches of it. I never knew when it was going to happen, and it became like a game to try to stay on top of the snow as long as I could. Every time I went down, there was a delightful crumbling, sinking sensation. Then you had to pull your feet out of the deep caves they had made, hoist yourself up onto the snow, and continue to clamber clumsily up the hill–until you fell through again.

The pattern of the snow on the hill to my left (our main hill splits down into two side hills as it goes down) caught my eye. The snow was draped elegantly over a long hump on the hill, and the trees down by the empty pond where I was cast dramatic shadows on the hill. I was going to go up and try to take a picture of it, but the snow seemed determined to keep me from getting up there. It yanked at my feet, pulling me this way and that.

Then, when I got to the crest of the hill, there was a queer sensation of feeling like I was on the verge of falling backward down the hill! I felt very high up, as if I was on a platform, and I had to balance precariously to take a picture. I tried to take a picture of the little tree to my right, but just as I was about to, the snow yanked one foot down, so I was holding the camera crooked. I thought it was all very funny; the snow seemed to have a mind of its own, and almost angry I made it up the hill. The challenge made it fun in one way. The hill seemed to be laying there imperiously, daring anyone to come across it. But after a while, the constant falling through the snow started seeming grating, like an alarm-clock continually going off just when you’re about to fall asleep.

I stopped and looked at the scene around me halfway up the hill. The sun was on the verge of disappearing behind the hill opposite us, which made everything look especially dramatic. On that hill there was a pattern of deep blue shadows interjecting into the whiteness of the hill; streaks and splotches of it in some spots, and settling more heavily in pools of shadow in other spots.

But our hill was being lit up by the sun, and it looked broad and majestic. All across it was a sea of ripples in it that the wind had made, in an ever-continuing pattern, and here and there were pools of pearly-looking snow that gleamed in the sun. (I wasn’t sure what made the snow look different there; maybe the snow starting to melt there?) It looked graceful and eloquent, following all of the curves of the hill in one broad expanse of rippling snow. In one spot on the hill it rose up and down in waves.

I never did take my walk up in the woods. But even with all the struggle and hassle it took just to get up the hill, I was not sorry I came out.