Monday, December 14, 2009

First Sunday in December

Cold. Cold cold cold and grey. I didn't really want to go to Konza (as usual) but had been sitting in front of a computer for about two weeks straight and needed some fresh air. Besides, there'd been a blizzard mid-week, and I was curious to see Konza in winter. (Real winter, none of that sunshine-and-blue sky nonsense that we'll probably get in January. Winter. Cold and grey.)

The prairie in winter then -- cold and grey. And icy. Very icy -- most of the path icy -- so that I had to pay attention to where and how I stepped, and/or do the boot-shuffle across slippery patches. Someone had been out skiing, someone else snowshoeing, but from what I understand, both activities are against the rules. Rules. Sigh.

I should be somewhere skiing right now. Somewhere else, where I could swoosh swoosh swoosh through the tall grass, across that big horizon, somewhere between white earth and white sky (Digression, sorry: digression away from this comfortable little apartment, from this inane little micropolis, from this computer, from this lifestyle; digression away to the prairie, to the big open grey icy prairie, newly shaded with snow, cold under the clear night sky. I should be out skiing right now. But no skiing at Konza. And no being out at Konza after sunset. No camping. No straying from the path. Paths. Rules. Trammels. No room for digression...)

Back to what Konza can offer, then, that day three weeks ago is it already? when it was just me and the cold grey wintry prairie. A study in noises. Not so much landscapes -- the snow had decided to sublime, a thick mist hovered in every hollow, mystery, mystery, beauty -- but soundscapes:

Sounds! Tweeterings of robins -- I think every red-breasted little bird in the state had decided to come to Konza to sing of the snow; the air vibrated with songs and wingflaps, joy.

Sounds! Twinklings of grass -- the breeze was relatively calm, but if I paused, listened carefully, I swear I could hear frost-coated blades tinging together, acres and acres of tiny windchimes.

Sounds! Crunch crunch crunch, huff huff puff, that's all I really heard, unless I stood still -- just my footsteps, my bootcrunches -- real crunches, loud crunches, not just gravel crunches, but cold crystal-breaking crunches; I huffed and puffed and crunched around to the first loop, then skipped and hopped and twirled and stomped -- Cr-crunch! Crunchcrunchcrunch! Crrrrrrrrrrunch! CRUNCH! -- out across the path. Must have looked silly, sounded silly, but who can resist fresh snow, leaving dizzy tracks all the way down the trail? Besides, there was no one else there. No one else wanted to go to a cold, grey, icy, misty, crunchy prairie. I wasn't disturbing anyone's peacefulness.

Peacefulness. Pause. Beauty. Winter.

Forecasters predict lows around zero tonight, another storm Wednesday. The robins will be cold, the prairie grey, wind-swept with snow.

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