We're still on the cusp of spring here in northern Wisconsin and the buds on trees are just beginning to form. There's not much color in the woods yet, and on today's gray cloudy day, the beauty of the forest was hard to find at first.
But as my steps became a rhythm, my mind began to drift and I was able to focus on the texture of the landscape surrounding me.
The trails were blissfully devoid of people today and so I was able to let Charlie off-leash for most of our hike. I struggle to balance my desire to keep her safe (on-leash) with her need to run (off-leash), but today was easy.
And because she was free to explore on her own (nearby of course), I was not distracted by the constant tug of the leash.
As I continually scanned the scenery for possible dangers to Charlie (wild animals, approaching dogs, people on mountain bikes, etc.), things I would not normally have seen began to draw me off the trail to take a closer look.
This in-between time of seasons exposes different parts of nature for a brief period of time... the snow covering has been removed and the growth of the lush underbrush has not yet begun. Logs, fungi, mushrooms and tiny blooming flowers are all visible now.
And because there is little color to distract the eye, today's hike was a study in texture.