It is less than a city block to the edge of where I can see, much less. Tall trees stand at the shadowy edge of visibility.
It is more than an hour at Highway speed to a true city block, more than five hours from home. The square pad of closed-cell foam I sit on protects me from the cold ground. The pad reflects warmth back to me.
Fog thick as a down comforter is as quiet.
Soon the sun will rise, it’s beginning to lighten now. Half of the yellow leaves make a silent carpet, allowing a clearer view of bleached vertical bark, the forest of aspens in which I sit.
The boreal Forest.
My day pack is wedged between two aspens and the combination of warm foam and a well-stuffed pack is a comfortable vantage point from which to watch the sunrise.
A touch of frost is on the rose hips, frost on cranberries and moss. A few minutes ago the air was perfectly still but now I can feel the fall on my face, a gentle chilly sigh from up the hill. One moment my own exhaled fog drifts west, the next one east.
Which way shall we blow? Decisions all around.
There is an upside down waxy leaf within arms reach that holds a dozen frozen water droplets that catch the muted morning light and sparkle like diamonds. The fog is gently lifting, like pulling the comforter back five minutes at a time while you get used to the idea of launching a new day. I pull my Helly Hansen beanie deeper over my ears and my wool wide brimmed crushable hat further down on my head.
I have no mirror but I am certain “dork” would be reflected if I did.
The ‘About Me’ piece on this blog says I am from granite Rockies and prairie dust, from boreal forest and wanderlust. This is the boreal forest. It feels like home as much as the prairies and the mountains.
Beginning a frozen foggy morning in the Autumn forest is an invigorating, life affirming, meditative experience. Staying quiet in the forest with your eyes open and soaking it in is a peculiar experience in our electronically wired, plugged-in world.
Quiet, genuine silence, is extremely rare.
Looking around me I am astounded by multiple finite details: crimson rose hips with miniature frazzled beards, coyote tracks in the mud, the sound of tissue paper rustling as a raven flies overhead, the smell of ripened high bush cranberries reminiscent of the barn, aspen leaves that really do tremble in the the morning breeze.
The leaves on the trees have brown varicose-like veins as they prepare to be released to the top layer of compost.
The sun clears the tops of the trees, and the fog dissipates a bit. A ruffed grouse struts out into the open leaves scratching and picking a crop full of perfect stones to go with the fading green clover, cranberries and rose hips. It looks over its shoulder, and rockets off at a low angle in a startling flutter that makes your heart pound.
A twig cracks like a dry chicken bone, elk?