COTD 1/27/21

In which the towpath saves us once again.

Not a lot of words in this crush-of-the day, but it is a heartfelt one. As in actually felt as a lift in my actual heart.

Like many people (if not most) I used to get depressed in the winter. Bleak light, short days, feeble sunsets and too much time inside all take their toll. January can be a rough month, and February even crueler. But in the last few years I’ve been ok with it. Partly, I suspect, because I am actually turning into Moley from Mole End. But much of it has to do with walking on the towpath every day. If you walk the same path every day, you’re alive to the differences each season. Of course in spring you hear birds and smell flowers and feel hopeful waves of warmth and light. But what I have come to learn is that winter has its fair share of beauty as well. The colors of decaying leaves and moss and lichen are richer by far than many of the bright colors you find in spring. And even as early as January, there is a hopeful light. Even as early as January the plants in my backyard are forming buds to make the leaves that will make me so happy when they’re bright and glowing in the springtime. Everything is already waking up, if you know where to look. And the birds are planning something…

If I’m being honest, yesterday was a challenge for someone trying to be hopeful about winter. A snow day with no snow. I did feel down, I did feel Under the Weather. But this morning there was a light asserting itself against a heavy slatey sky, and that’s one of my favorite things ever. And though I felt too tired for a run on the towpath, Clio decided we should forge on, and she is my boss, and I felt such a swelling of hope and joy, just seeing the light and the colors. I felt it in my heart.

Here is a selection of images from our walk. I hope the hopeful light makes you hopeful too.

Forgot the song! Here is l’hiver est la. Which I think means Winter is Here (or there) by my absolute favorite favorite.


4 thoughts on “COTD 1/27/21

  1. I think it’s good to do the same walk every day so you notice the changes. But I’ve actually got three walks, each three miles long, so that one of them plus my trip to the shop for the paper, first thing every day, makes four miles which is 10.000 steps, or so my Fitbit tells me. (And each of the three incorporates a stretch of towpath!) Mind you, today I had to divert myself a bit – in the sense of making a physical detour, not the other kind of ‘divert’ which I was doing anyway – because we’d had a lot of rain overnight and there were a few impassable puddles. Though Milton Keynes, which is flat and on clay soil, was designed with a set of ‘balancing lakes’ which take the run-off flood water, I don’t expect those lakes to mop up every large impassable puddle along my chosen path…which is just as well, because they don’t! So today I did see a few things that I don’t usually see on my walks. The things I keep noticing at the moment are catkins – hazel and alder catkins now, silver birch soon.

    • Lovely! Sometimes we go the other way on the towpath (that’s where the pretty ducks are). And the “Other side of the towpath” is beautiful and wild in both directions. And there are some lovely fields on the edge of town. There’s a lot to see, despite being mostly stuck in one place!

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