The Ice Beneath My Feet


When I fall four more times, I told myself, I’ll go back.

I have no idea how “four” became the magic number.   I lost count how many times I landed on my hands and knees up to that point.  There was really no safe place to walk in the woods.  What looked like soft snow was actually ice and what looked like ice was ice.

So I dug my heels in, literally, breaking the top layer of ice with the heels of my boots to get some kind of traction.

And this worked, until I saw the impression of the pine needles, like a fossil in the snow, with the actual pine needles a few inches away.  Or when I saw the collar of tiny footprints in the snow circling the  base of the tree, whose bark I didn’t recognize.

I’d turn my head to look, and down I’d go.

The good thing is, I was mostly breaking though the top layer of ice into the soft snow beneath.  This is what kept me going.  And with having the feeling that there was something for me today at the stonewall which borders the back of our property.

I don’t usually pay much attention to the stone wall, other than admire how it’s both standing and crumbling at the same time, or to walk over it.

But today I was thinking of the spaces in-between the rocks.

It was the second space I peered thought that I saw the stem of a leaf, dangling from the point of the triangle, where two rocks came together.

Putting my mittens under my knees, I kneeled in front of the space between the rocks,  knowing I’d be there a while taking pictures and videos of that little wonder.

I only fell a few times  on my way back to the house.  I tried to focus on where and how I was placing my feet, but inevitably a tiny foot print or some animal scat would divert my attention and down I’d go.

I remember reading an Alice Munro story where a some friends are walking home together and Munro describes how, unlike adults, whose eyes are often focused on what’s going on inside of their heads instead of what’s in front of them, these boys were  in the moment.  They were only thinking about what they were seeing, when they were seeing it.

The woods often does that for me.

It  holds my interest by always presenting something compelling or beautiful for me to look at and think about.   Today as much as I thought it was the animal tracks in the snow or the stone wall at the back of the property, it seems what the woods was really trying to get me to see, was the ice beneath my feet.

Pay attention“, the woods said to me each time I fell.

And although I did see so much on my walk in the woods today, I now I wonder what I didn’t see, because I wasn’t listening.




3 thoughts on “The Ice Beneath My Feet

  1. Oh, go back to the woods Maria. Now you know what to expect! Grab your safest boots and lined, thermal tights to ease your landings! It’s a magical place for you. Mellie’s is the ocean. Mine is the stable. Serenity and answers are found in our own magical places. 🙂

  2. I will never stop bouncing back, no matter how long it takes or how silly I look. Cancers are determined and tenacious. It’s those claws! I will never give up. Like Jon, I’m in the last third of my life.I will spend it as I never could before. With my lips to the wind. 😉

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