As I write this, we are in the midst of the January Lockdown and there are no scheduled club events. Instead, my husband and I are off to enjoy a late afternoon walk at the Two Creeks Forest Conservation Area located just west of Morrisburg village.
Our party of two will not need snowshoes today as there have been no flurries all week and the snow on the ground is hard-packed. As soon as we start we are saluted by a magnificent silver maple plantation which is literally bowing to us. The trees on either side of the trail are leaning towards each other reminiscent of a saber arch you sometimes see a bride and groom walk through at a military wedding. It is impressive and extends for quite a distance.
This forest is known for its biodiversity and as you walk along the trail you can almost see the invisible lines separating the different ecosystems. It is like opening a door to a new room. Dramatically, the main corridor through the silver maples opens up to reveal a massive bicentennial bur oak. It commands respect, almost glowing with its authority. What a fitting place for a junction which starts the beginning of the loop. As the trail winds around the oak we see from its branches a whimsical bird feeder in the shape of a wishing well, the first of many beautifully crafted feeders in the forest, which include such styles as a covered sleigh and a log-cabin. They look like recent additions to the forest.
After several other ecosystem “rooms”, we emerge into a world of green, delightful after the former sepia tones. I love pines and the way their needles hold on to the snow a little longer than any other tree. With the sunshine peeking through, they are indeed splendid.
Eventually we reach an open grassland area, a popular habitat for bobolinks. This peculiar-named bird likes to live in tall grass and feed from grain foraged from the ground. I am not a bird expert, but I swear that I just spotted a male near a bird feeder a short distance away. Its plumage is black and white with a distinct apricot nape. I am fairly certain that it is a migrating bird. Shouldn’t it be down south by now? All I know for sure is that at the moment, it does not seem too pleased that I am standing between him and his lunch. The feeder he is eying is of geometrical architecture; when viewed from a certain angle, it appears to have no base, until it twirls and you see the other façade. From my vantage point, I can clearly see the spread of seeds so I slowly back away to let him have his meal.
As we complete our loop back through the silver maple arch, I am thankful for the outing and the fresh air, and while I miss my friends, I feel very fortunate to have a kindred spirit for a partner so that we can continue to do the things we love à deux.
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