Yesterday, I spent my morning with a group of students on retreat for the weekend out at Chatham's farm. I was invited to give a plant ID walk, and we modified it to a tree ID walk due to my uncertainty about my ability to identify brown seedy stalks reliably. I intended to take the girls, but they have declared themselves tired of snow (despite snow tubing last weekend and Emily being outside with a friend right now, sliding on ice refuges at the pool parking lot). I went alone, driving past muddy hillsides before reaching the farm, 16 miles north of home.
As you can see, I had reason to wish I'd taken my skiis. But it was, in fact, perfect weather for a winter tree ID walk. We found, or at least I *think* we found, all the particular trees on our list: hickory, maple, oak, birch, beech, spruce, hemlock, and poplar. (The one I declared hickory was long-dead, which I pointed out was perfect because it would never again grow leaves to contradict my identification skills.)
And though I'd complained about giving part of my Saturday for this, I was honored to be included. For a moment, I got to join in a moment of running gravity-fed and young down a sunny snow-covered hill. Because they let me.