A walk in the woods.

It was a magical Monday morning in the mountains.  In the darkness, you could see we had some overnight snowfall. The moonlight was illuminating a very sparkly landscape. The sun didn’t rise until after 7am, and when it finally popped above the valley, it was a true delight to see our world covered in snow. 

It was a light, fluffy and consistent snow. I grabbed my camera and geared up. It was cold outside, for most of the day, it was below 22f. Making it the perfect invigorating start to the day. I walked out the door and headed for the woods. It was quiet and serene. It felt like no one else existed in this world. The winds were harsh; blowing snow in every direction. There were moments I thought a white out may occur, but that wasn’t in the stars. Instead, visibility stayed quite low and the wind whistled quietly through the trees. 

It all felt perfect. It felt like an enchanted forest in the heart of winter.  

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“We feel cold, but we don’t mind it, because we will not come to harm. And if we wrapped up against the cold, we wouldn’t feel other things, like the bright tingle of the stars, or the music of the Aurora, or best of all the silky feeling of moonlight on our skin. It’s worth being cold for that.” -Philip Pullman

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The ground was ice. Coated in a thick layer of fluffy snow. Jon and I had decided to walk around on our mountain, to take a look at some of the beautiful mining remnants from the 1800’s when our ghost town was a booming mining community, where silver and gold were abundant. It was a fun walk. We fully expected to see wildlife exploring the chilly world, checking out the world as we were. Bear, bobcat, elk, moose, sheep. We thought any one of these friends might say hello to us before dipping swiftly back into the woods. But they didn’t. Our solitude was never broken.  

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It’s easy to get lost in the moment on days like this. When everything you see is captivating in it’s tiny perfection. Every little detail sings in color or texture or pattern. Nothing is ordinary when covered in crystals.  

“This brilliant silence of winter is most touching, might I not say musical? How different it is from that of a starry night in June, which in mute eloquence proclaims repose! In this is power, an appeal to thought, strangely mingled with one to active energy.” -Henry James Slack

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It is still autumn, and the aspens are still golden beacons in the hills and mountains. Expansive groves that glow like magical flames on the white slopes. This contrast makes my heart sing. It is surreal and it is inspiring. There is nothing in nature that doesn’t dazzle or induce awe in these cold months. 

As we approached the closest mining area,  the winds picked up. Creating a fantasy world that felt wholly timeless. 

There are often moments of clarity out in the woods or up on a mountain, where the reality of life hits me. And I am so overwhelmed by gratitude and unreal acceptance that this is my home. On this day, I was struck multiple times by it. It’s easy to go about business day to day, without putting much thought into what our actual situation in life is. It’s a situation I dreamt about for my whole life. An abstract goal that was constantly in the back of my mind. So casually wandering into woods or up a mountain or crossing a tundra... it’s wild. And it’s amazing. And it is emotional.

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This view is a special view. It’s taken from our mountain. And just past that aspen grove, you see a tiny town. That tiny little ghost town is our town.  Where very few people live, and even fewer people stay during the snowy months. It’s where we get our mail and where we wander aimlessly when we need a change from the mountains. This coating of snow makes it come to life. 

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The winds picked up as we headed back to our cottage. Creating that full color black and white landscape I adore. A world of stark contrast and micro pops of color.  

This is our world, friends. Protect it with everything. These places are soul places. Wilderness is what our human hearts beat for.  

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“I am grateful for the silence of winter mornings, for the beauty and wonder of the glint of sunlight in frost melting to dew, for the early-riser's peaceful solitude that sets a mood of thankfulness, hope, and calm for the dawning day.” -Terri Guillemets