Within the quiet Rock and swaying blade of Grass is a message of Love from the Universe.
~ Lee Hiller
Winter has for the most part eluded Hot Springs National Park. The morning chill of December and January hovers around the mid 30s and warming into the low 60s by the afternoon. No snow, no freezing fog, I feel cheated as winters chill has barely brushed the winter landscape decorating with a scarce sprinkling of Frost Flowers.
As I hike up the Mountain I spot tiny spires of red among the winter greenery. Delicate flames lighting my journey along the trail leading higher into the Forest. On closer inspection they are not flower buds as I first imagined. The colorful display is an unfurling ballet of leaves, a sight most often seen as spring arrives in late March or early April.
Further up the Mountain I pause below a Tree that initially I believed held tiny yet to fall rust colored leaves. Above me glowing in the soft winter morning light are branches that have begun to blossom. These early to arrive orange buds are glorious against the vibrant blue sky. The sun is illuminating rocks, leaves and fungi along the trail edges as I near the top of the mountain.
At the top I head over to the Hot Springs Mountain Trail. When I reach the trail head on the north face of Hot Springs Mountain a dimly lit winter landscape of Trees sculpted by past storms awaits me. Bright blue skies give way to pale aqua and colorful flora is replaced with subtle shades of brown. This near monochromatic trail is like stepping onto another planet, a reverse Wizard Of Oz moment. I pause to let my Heart show my eyes the beauty of the path ahead. As I near the bottom of the mountain a squirrrel comes down a Tree to take a look at me. A perfect end to a lovely morning in the Forest.
Love to ALL,