I try to make the same journey once a winter. I guess it’s almost like a migratory thing except I don’t stay for long. Just long enough to lose myself for a little while. It’s almost magical, when you walk away from civilization. No phone poles, no houses and if you time it right, no sounds of vehicles anywhere. Then you can imagine what it would have been like to be there in 1913. Or 1813. Or anytime in history, really.
It’s almost comical writing this. I have the same thoughts and feelings I did when I took the walk into Bear Creek last winter. The board ice cracks like gunshots, breaking the stillness. I’m always amazed at the way the sound reverberates across the ice and off of the frozen trees. Every step I take in the frozen snow crunches loud enough that I imagine it can be heard a mile away. Of course it can’t, but when you’re immersed in such stillness and silence it isn’t hard to believe.
Whenever I reach the head of the creek, I always wish I could go further. There’s a brook that flows into the waterway that always looks like a narrow pathway into the forest. Of course, I know better. The thought of breaking through the ice and getting soaked to the waist always deters me from doing it. But that doesn’t stop me from thinking about it. I know that it winds through the forest for several kilometers. For me, it would be the ultimate walking trail. Alas, the brook ice was never intended for human feet.
A lot of stuff in the world gets pretty mundane. The regiment of work, the intrusion of television, the noise of modern society. But nature never does. To me anyway. There’s just something pure and innocent about the whole experience. The only problem is, it never lasts long enough. The sun sets, the creek ends and the world keeps turning. But to have the ability to escape from it all, just for a few moments, is priceless.
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