Why I walk in Winter

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Witches' Butter

Witches’ Butter

Why I walk in winter

I’m not someone who enjoys cold weather. I tend to prefer watching winter through the window, as I sit reading a book by a warm fire. Nevertheless, the sad look on my dog’s face usually gets me to step outdoors into the brisk winter air. What I discover in the woods always makes it worth the cold fingertips.

Here are a few of my cherished winter finds –

1. Witches’ Butter and other wet creatures. Whoever came up with that name certainly got it right. Oozing orange and yellow across downed branches, witches’ butter emerges in moist weather, along with other types of fungi and moss. Newts are my favorite wet-weather friends. With bright red bodies and enough poison to kill an adult human silly enough to try to eat one, they are semi-aquatic and indicators of environmental health.

2. Forest Décor. It’s interesting to see the power of nature’s talent at redecorating. I find many trees, branches and rocks in new places after a winter storm and a brand new carpet of bright green moss.

3. Wild Food. Every season, even winter, offers the possibility of foraging for a local delicacy. Toyon berries are delicious, especially when dried and made into a spice.

4. Water. In the climate of Northern California, a good winter means a lot of rain. As I walk, I notice and enjoy listening to the sound of all of the new creeks and seasonal ravines filled with fresh water.

5. Ideas. Walking in the winter is like pressing the reset button on my mental computer. My mind clears of all of its worried clutter and opens up to creative new thoughts.

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