A couple of weeks ago, rather in the spirit of ‘if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em’, I decided to take a walk around Spring Valley Nature Center in Schaumburg. It was the first time I’d been there since the beginning of this endless winter and, despite the fact that the temperatures were well below freezing, I quite enjoyed it.
Apart from the man with the snow plow, who had thankfully cleared a path on the roadway around the perimeter of the place, I seemed to be the only person there. There were no signs of wildlife either. Evidently I was the only one brave or stupid enough to ignore the dangerous wind chill warnings but I just couldn’t stand being cooped up inside any longer.
Despite the fact that there was little or no action on the wildlife front, there was still some beautiful scenery and, despite mittens and enough layers of clothing to make me look like that kid from A Christmas Story, I was able to get a few shots of the surrounding landscape.
The silence, despite being so close to nearby houses and main road, was uncanny. Even the airplanes flying in and out of O’Hare airport were too high in the clear, blue sky to make anything but the faintest sound (or perhaps it was because of the balaclava and two hoods that I was wearing that I failed to hear them.)
Even though it had been two or three days since the latest snowfall, the snow clung tenaciously to the tree branches, frozen in place, not yet dislodged by the winds that would follow later in the afternoon.
Understandably, the usual trails and paths had been left untouched but here and there were signs that someone or something had braved the deep snow, not letting it deter them from traveling along their usual route. There was a time when I would have thought nothing of following in their footsteps or even blazing my own trail but now, as I stumble somewhat cautiously into the ‘golden years’ I’d rather be safe than sorry and stick to the safest options.
Even so, the road was somewhat slippery in spots and I took heed of the signs that appeared occasionally along the wayside, warning pedestrians of dangerous conditions. Slow and easy does it in situations like these. Because the path that goes over the bridge that spans the creek was several feet deep in snow, I kept to the plowed road that fords the water a little further along. Naturally the creek, which is never all that deep, was frozen solid and I made my way very carefully across to the other side without incident. (Visions of a bad fall that I had taken a few years before in an icy parking lot always make me wary.)
But all’s well that ends well and I made it right the way to the farm and back without incident. The man who was plowing the road passed me a couple of times on my walk and we waved to each other. I hope he realized that I certainly appreciated his efforts because without them I would never have made it around the center.