A Not-So-Time In The Wilderness

by Curt Kovener

This is a not-so-pretty time in the wilderness. The brown leaves continue to blow about even after multiple raking, mulching and cleanup. The brown bones of bare trees offer little contrast or color to the drab hills and hollers.
The October pumpkins that made for a bright orange fall decoration outdoors are now looking like they are melting down with decay. They will soon be taken to the compost pile to continue their natural return process to the earth.
The robins have already eaten the bright red dogwood seeds removing even the tiniest tidbit of color from the landscape.
Even the birds at the feeder are dull colors of brown, tan, black, gray, charcoal; about like the black sunflower seeds they crave. Occasionally a red crown of a woodpecker or a cardinal will make an appearance.
Willow the cat, always outfitted in natural tortoiseshell camouflage, sits in the picture window watching the birds at the feeder.
About the best thing nature can do in December is a covering of snow. It accentuates textures of trees and covers up the drabness of the forest floor.
I first thought it would be some time before the ground became cold enough to keep any fallen snow white & frozen, but a couple of days with temperature barely reaching the high of freezing has changed all of that.
The South had some unexpected snow, but Southern Indiana had none…until Saturday morning.
Some flakes gently fell at the wilderness leaving a visible dusting on the icy edges of the lake. To compensate for the chilling view, I fetched in another load of wood for the fireplace.
About the only color to the wilderness is the white floof of Emma the Great Pyrenees as she roams the ridges, dam, lane, creeks and hollers. She considers it her job to keep us protected and all invasive critters off her property all the time including the seed stealing birds at the feeders that Willow watches. Barking and barking and barking, Emma vocalizes her warnings to all intruders real and imagined.
As a result, I  believe this Christmas season we will have a not-so-silent night and the only time all is calm is when Emma is asleep.