This is the first day in a long string of days forecast to be above 40 degrees, with no end in sight to the warming trend. I have a feeling that today was our final "snow" hike. As we drove south to our favorite hiking spot, my hunch about the snow situation was confirmed by the amount of brown grass showing through patches of snow along the highway... the white stuff is almost completely gone.
Of course there's still a good amount of snow in the forest where it's shaded from sun and elements, but even in the woods, there were quiet trickles of rivulets running down hillsides and wet, glistening tops of rocks and logs as the snow slowly begins to recede.
Despite passing a parking lot full of vehicles unloading fat-tire bikes, there was no one on our trail today... not even tracks of recent hikers or bikers.
Instead, we were welcomed by a network of tiny animal prints consisting of squirrel, rabbit, fox and others as they raced from tree to tree and den to den, awakening from their winter sleep and becoming active participants in the forest again.
With the impending change of season, even the shadows look different. The sky is brighter, the sun at a higher angle, provides more warmth than before.
The strong breeze danced in the tops of the trees. Branches clacked against each other and tree trunks rubbed, making all kinds of noise. An awakening of sorts. It's as though they know their period of dormancy is almost over and they're coming alive again... a celebration of sound.