One gardener's observations, discoveries and random thoughts whilst simultaneously worshipping and dallying in a Cape Cod garden. "A garden," said Ralph Waldo Emerson, "is like those pernicious machineries which catch a man's coatskirt or his hand, and draw in his arm, his leg and his whole body to irresistable destruction."

A Winter Walk



So, January…it isn’t all frigid temperatures and snowy days.  There’s also great deals on primroses in the garden section of most grocery stores.   It’s a great way to bring a little spring color to your day and assuming the plant lives ’til spring “in captivity”, I’ve had great success with planting them out, although they do tend to bloom at odd times of the year ever after.

These are some images from last Sunday.  I’d meant to get them here for you sooner but I’ve been confounded by a somewhat sporadic internet connection (the earlier problem seemed to clear up on its own, so I cancelled the originally scheduled work order…only to have it recurring now.  Love that Murphy…) and my natural tendancy to laziness during this cold, dark month.    Which is funny, because here’s proof that it’s not an especially dark month, despite the long nights.  This was a nice sunny day, although the temperature was still only just above freezing.


A flock of robins were singing and chattering in the treetop off the porch and encouraged our attention out of doors.

My gray pal only peered out through the screen.  I don’t think he’s especially a fan of the cold, though the birds captured his attention for a little while.   I’ve been considering seeing if he’ll take to walking on a leash, since we might have some fun exploring the world together…but that’s a plan I’m holding onto ’til spring.  I suspect the world’s a little too damp for my buddy this time of year.

winter-robin-1Getting out onto the porch encouraged me to get myself together and enjoy the sunny afternoon before it fled.   While sunset comes just a smidge later now, the afternoons still tend to vanish pretty quickly.  

So up I bundled, got my boots on, grabbed a camera and mp3 player and off I went to explore the snowy, sunny world, leaving the Gray Catsby to bask  in the sunny window above the bird feeder stations in the side yard.




marsh-canal-ice1Rather than forge new paths, I was simply following the nearby road that would lead me through the salt marsh behind Rock Harbor and on to the bay.   However, since the temperature was hovering just above the freezing point, I found the going just a little treacherous, as there were big patches of ice made even more slick by a little melty business on top.    

The best plan here is always to take the deeper, crunchier snow at the edge of the road for better traction and I made better time, too…and wasn’t all tensed up about walking on the ice, which makes for a nicer experience, overall.  

I just love the salt marsh.  Everything about it amazes me.  Seeing it in winter is even more cool, since the formations of snow and ice and the movement of the tides creates some interesting visuals…like this long crevasse that runs over the top of one of the tidal channels in this section of the marsh, or the broken chunks of ice the tide abandons atop the dried marsh grasses.

I only had my music on low and in just one earbud, so I’d be able to hear any traffic approaching from behind, but also so I could enjoy the songs of the chickadees and sparrows and robins and starlings who were all flying about celebrating the relatively warm day, after the much colder temperatures which ushered in the start of the year days earlier.



This will be familiar territory to some of you, as it is to me.

I believe I capture this same shot above more or less on a memorable day last July…and in September, we waded half-way out to this rock pictured below, as dusk fell about us and ducks fly by overhead.    There might’ve been ducks Sunday, but there wasn’t a chance of my walking across that unstable tidal ice (the tide was actually coming in underneath all that).  There was plenty of winter interest to hold my attention in lieu of that, as you can see.






red-rose-hipsAs you can see, it was a truly lovely afternoon for a walk.   It’s colder, of course, as you get closer to the actual shoreline, since there’s almost always a bit of a breeze off the bay.   It was great to get out in the sunshine and get some fresh air and exercise.

There were birds a-plenty out and about celebrating the sunny day with me, so I was a little disappointed not to see any blue herons, since they are amongst my favorites.   But this may again by Murphy and his little law, keeping me from seeing any of those amazing birds while I had camera in-hand; after I got home and got into the car to head off for a bit of grocery shopping, there was a heron, big as life, flying almost directly over the car as I drove past another part of the marsh.  

I think I know where to look for him now.




Comments on: "A Winter Walk" (10)

  1. What a lovely walk! I wish I had been there to experience it myself. Your pictures entice me. Thanks for sharing :)

  2. Hey Greg! thanks for the frosty…bbrrrbr..snowy walk around the Cape. Cannot believe how much snow you guys have had this year…I find I miss the idea of snow…just not the shoveling, driving & fallin’ on my ass part of snow. Oh and pouring warm water on the old VW’s door to try to go to work, only to find that it wouldn’t start anyway!! One very cool memory I have is of the beach in Dennis…can’t remember the name at the moment…we had a winter rental duplex right on the beach…Heaven…and took a walk on a seriously frigid day…so cold the ocean had that funky salt ice that it gets. Anyway, the tide was going out and leaving all these HUGE chunks of ice sitting on the sand…looked like a different world. Wish I’d had my sweet lil digital camera back then…so, no pics, just a very cool memory! Thanks for the No cigs advice. Day 10 and I haven’t killed anyone yet…*elaine*

    Elaine, first, let me offer my congratulations on those first and most difficult ten days! That’s terrific…breath deep, be strong, keep that quit!! And in 165 days you’ll be a walking fool like me! Enjoy!!

    (BTW, there’s more snow on the way!)

  3. A lovely, cold, walk, Greg. Your buddy seems a little upset about you not taking him along. The red berries must have been such a treat to the eyes in the cold. I love your Violas/Violets/Pansies are whatever they’re called? I love their cute blooms and fresh colors.

    Primroses, Mouli, and they are fun! The berries were a nice surprise in a day of whites, grays and blues.

  4. I envy you, my friend. My mountains are plenty spectacular but I’ve grown so accustomed to them that a little walk along a shoreline would do wonders for my January spirit.

  5. Suburban Indiana just doesn’t offer views like that. My world is light gray, gray, and dark gray. In one month I will be in Florida for my annual family visit, and I can hardly wait. Meanwhile, I get my sunshine from posts like yours.

    I’m so glad I could be your sunshine, Birdie! Hang in there…

  6. The Gray Catsby, eh? I like it! :)

  7. I never get tired of your photographs. You live in such a beautiful region.

  8. Greg, I thought it had been cold in the south of England till I saw these pics. I haven’t seen a frozen sea since… aww, well I’d hardly dare to tell you :D I’ve never even seen a saltmarsh in those conditions. Hats off to you and a big dollop of the usual envy for showing us this fabulous walk!

  9. A stark contrast to the photos where the water used to be “alive” and not frozen and blanketed over. That is a great photo of your “gray pal” in the window. His eyes are glowing. If, and that’s a big if, you ever would possibly think of walking him, I would start just by getting him acquainted with the leash. Try putting the leash on his collar and let him get accustomed to it for a while. But you’ll have to watch him carefully while he has it on. Every now and then fidgit with the leash as if it’s something for him to chase. That way when you do want to try and bring him out on the leash, he doesn’t reject the leash “right off the bat.”

    Oh, I figured we’d take the leash thing pretty slowly, if we come around on that idea. The last thing I want to do is freak him (or me) out.

  10. What beautiful pictures. What beautiful flowers and snow. How romantic.

    Hiya CJ, nice to “see” ya. “Romantic”, I suppose, in the Currier and Ives sense. ; )

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