Friday, December 21, 2012

Falling Snow

Have you ever just sat back and watched it snow?

Ever been lucky enough to be sitting in the woods when a snow storm blows in?

While driving in snow and ice can be scary for many of us, there is still a great deal of beauty in falling snow.

Several years ago I had picked up a Migratory Bird license so that I could hunt ducks and geese.  Well I didn't have idea 1 about doing that, but I ventured out none-the-less.  During a late season hunt I found myself tucked back into some pines.  I had given up on seeing a goose at least an hour ago, and I was content to sit back and enjoy watching the world turn.  Without noticing the once grey sky had darkened, and the view gentle snow flakes had turned into a full on Lake Effect event.  If you didn't grow up on the Great Lakes, you've never had the pleasure of witnessing a Lake Effect snow event.  When cold air sweeps out of Canada and hits unfrozen lake water the cold air sucks up moisture like a vacuum.  Once the air hits the colder land and begins to lift to get out of the Great Lakes basin, the air has to lose that moisture.  This interaction of land, air, and water leads to amazing snow falls.  12-18 inches in 24 hours, and locally even more than that. 

So here I was tucked back in the pines and the snow had created a sheet of white.  Visibility was down to under 50 feet.  The trail I had followed in was long gone, and my foot prints had vanished.  I could barely make out the shore of the pond I had been watching, and hoping for some kindly Canadian Geese to take up residence on, in order to save my season.

Having grown up on the shores of Lake Erie, I realized there was simply no reason to panic.  It was January and this was bound to happen.  However, I also realized that these events, don't end quickly.  So I tucked back in, checked my bag for a snack, and looked at my water bottle. 

There was no rush to leave, but there was no hope in this blowing over.  I buckled down my bag, and my gun.  I made sure my gear was tucked in and accounted for. I stepped out into the whiteout and made my way from landmark to landmark.  Quickly I became acutely aware that I was the only living creature moving at this time.  Every other animal had already dug in to weather the storm.  It took me the better part of an hour to make it back, but I made it to my truck.  I shook the snow off, and climbed in, to catch my breath. 

The beauty in that day had stuck with me for more than 10 years.  For a brief time I was in the woods for that storm, and reminded that I'm just another animal making my way in the wilderness.

Happy Exploring
Scott M 

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