Every day, two or three times a day, I get a text message from the county informing me that it is still cold. Hypothermia alert. Today, school was canceled due to a half-inch of snow on the ground, plus impending chill and wind. Suburban Marylanders are not known for their cold-hardiness, alas. I went back to Greenbelt Park. This time I didn't even expect to see anyone else there. I was right.
The Azalea Trail is a short loop connecting three different picnic sites, all of which were today windswept and lonely. The snow lined everything and made my footsteps nearly silent. No other human tracks, only animal. There was a dog without a master-- fox? coyote?-- rabbits, birds. I saw none of them, except a few juncos and crows. It was cold but not intolerable. The most significant sound was of trees creaking and sobbing in the wind.
As usual, alone in the woods, I am a little scared-- maybe wary is a better word-- but once again I was able to find that place of being at peace with isolation. Even if I were to encounter danger, could there be a better time to go?-- almost charging through the snowy woods mouthing "I love this I love this I love this?"