Monday, January 18, 2016


On Saturday, a long walk on a Reston trail. Past the wildflower garden, the playground and a newly flooded lowland. It was almost 50, warm enough that the jacket I started out with was soon looped around my waist and my hands pulled free of the running shirt's built-in mittens.

Ten minutes in, I reached the closest stretch of the Cross County Trail. It's lined with interpretive signs, including one for a meadow, its pastel drawings out of place in the muted, tall-grass, cattail landscape. There are some steep hills in that area, and I looked up at houses that line that section of the trail, their decks a distant border to this natural world.

At the top of a rise I parted company with the CCT and went left to Lake Audubon, sparkling in the winter sun. The trail there runs alongside boat slips and red, green and yellow kayaks pushed up along the hill. You can walk almost completely around the lake — I almost have — and still not be back where you started from. So I made it to some strangely placed orange safety cones — and decided it was time to turn around.

On the return I noticed an angled tree swathed in eye-popping green moss, and a miniature waterfall  draining from the swampy lowland into the even-lower stream — subtle snapshots I hadn't seen going the other way.

I write this on a blustery morning of single-digit wind chills. But in my mind it's that mid-January morning with all its warm, dripping beauty.


blogger counters