“Signs of Life”

“Even on the coldest February days, signs of life appear in the forest” – Ed Lehming

A walk in the winter forest is something I have always appreciated, but many times it has been in complete silence. There are no sounds of birdsong in the air, missing is the rattle of woodpeckers, and the distant caws of crows high above me. There is no movement and the forest sits silent, seemingly devoid of life.

Then, as I look around, the recent tracks of the forest inhabitants give evidence that life continues within the silence. In this case, a squirrel has ventured from the depths. Further along the trail, the burrowing of mice and moles, just below the snow fills the white landscape with dizzying patterns. In the distance, a tree shows the recent endeavors of a hungry Pileated Woodpecker burrowing deep into the trunk, leaving fresh wood exposed.

If you simply walked into this forest and did not take the time to look for and understand these signs, the forest could seem like a dead, frozen place. It goes through it’s cycles, as it does every year. Some days the canopy is filled with sounds and excited movement and seems very much alive, and then, there are times when it seems to have taken a deep breath and silently exhales.

The more time I spend in nature, and forests in particular, the more I find myself tuned into these cycles, recognizing them for what they are, appreciating and understanding their meaning a bit more each time.

iPhone 12 Pro @ 4.2mm
1/4800 sec, f/1.6, ISO
32

6 Comments on ““Signs of Life”

  1. One thing about snow – it gives clues about who has gone there. Without the snow we would not even be aware that any creature had passed by. Great photo, Ed. I can almost hear how quiet it is.

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