Jason Hawkins Outdoors: A walk in the fields on a winter day

Feb. 10, 2014 @ 05:35 PM

While I’m walking, it’s the birds that I notice.

The sun is early, the sky is blue.

I had heard the song and witness as they take flight.

I am walking and it is the ground that I feel. Frozen in time, the mud holds true. There is a path here and droppings there, and I push through tall weeds to follow something anywhere. I know the rabbit. It way is full of hop. I frown at the track of a fox, each step a mysterious prance. The deer, oh, they wonder and meander. The squirrels have played, for they have lost a meal, again.

The coyote tracks are hungry, they hold tight and inside the shadows. I walk among them and wonder which I dare follow. Should I stay the course and hope it finds me? Should I follow the creek and find the rhythm of flowing water a melody for me?

I am walking into a fallow field. There is stubble from the fall that is much taller than the blanket of snow.

There is evidence of sustenance and toil in the earth.

Along a field I feel the insulting sting of a briar when it scrapes. My legs are cold and my skin winter dry. I stand and I witness. I stand and I listen. In my pause, my eyes find the sun and her outstretched rays that linger and spread and create a landscape that glistens.

Here, there is scurrying. Here there is noise and distraction. To the east there is an exposed rock I eventually climb. It is here beneath the naked branches of an elderly tree, I see on the limb of a walnut tree the hawk is hunting for that which scurries about.

I settle my back to the base of the tree. I ponder the acuity of the hawk and what it sees. Does it know of the tracks in this snow? Does it feel the sun not just glisten but also warm? Does the wind create a hymn while its wings are stretched in flight?

From this place I become and I take note of this land. There is a coldness of earth which I feel in my hand. There is a bareness of a field that was once turned by mule and known hands. My wanderings move me further along with the peace of this place — music without song.

Enjoy your time outdoors.

Email Jason Hawkins at hawkinsoutdoors@msn.com.