The Wonder of Wildness

In NH, many of us look forward to the snow as we would to an extended visit from a well loved friend. We feel awkward in January if rain comes and begins chewing on our snow blanket, leaving puddles to freeze underfoot, sometimes in pockets of black ice. 

Winter rains often mean ice patches on ski trails and scuttled plans to ski, snow shoe, or even to just go downtown. We wonder whether the lake or pond will freeze enough for safe skating.

 We relax again when a gentle storm brings down a fresh new blanket, especially if it’s cold and light- easy to shovel! Kids get excited by wet snowfalls at warmer temperatures and imagine the snowmen, igloo, fort or snowball fights if enough snow falls!

 There’s something very comforting and reassuring about hearing and feeling the crunch of snow underfoot that puts winter back in kilter when the snow finally arrives. The deeper the snow, the warmer the house feels.

 Snow is part of the wonder of the wildness in life. Something in us softens when we view forest changes in winter, whether on a drive, or on foot. We imagine bears in their dens. We wonder how the deer and moose can stay warm sleeping on the snow. We look for signs of the other four leggeds who come up from subnivean burrows, and leave their tracks behind them before darting back down again. We wonder who did what when different tracks cross.

 Even if we never enter the woods, it’s reassuring to know that the forest is there. Our wilderness continues to ground us, despite whatever is happening elsewhere in the world. Writers like Wallace Stegner encouraged us to save whatever is left of our forests, not just for recreation but to know the silence of the forest, have the sense that we are kin to the other animals, a part of the natural world. And we can keep a healthy sense of perspective in the process.

 Some of the ways we can keep each other well is to be considerate of our forest kin, value the diversity among them, and protect their habitat.

 Currently, the Forest Society needs our help to protect the Balsams property sale. Contributions can be mailed to Forest Society, 54 Portsmouth St., Concord, NH 03301 or to  http://savethebalsamslandscape.blogspot.com

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