The natural world quiets down in December, both visually and audibly. Fall's riot of colors is long gone, and the bird song chorus is a distant memory. Not everyone embraces winter, but there is a positive way to view the impending season of cold, ice and snow. Without the overload of spring, summer and fall distractions, we're freed up to notice and appreciate the subtle winter world.
A skilled guide helps, and for that guide I recommend a book by Mary Holland, a naturalist from Vermont. I keep her book, Naturally Curious, close at hand, and I just signed up to receive her blog postings. Book chapters are arranged by month and are filled with photos and narrative that bring to life what's going on in the wild world - our local wild world, not a distant rain forest or the plains of Africa.
Turn to the December chapter for a photo of moose "barking." Moose don't bark, in the sense of a dog barking, but in winter they do rake their lower teeth up trees to extract a meal of bark. Deer bark, too, but prefer different tree species.
The photos on the blog—large and bright in format—offer an intimate, up-close look at an intriguing world just out the window or out along the trail. The photo captions add insight, luring us further into that world. We take better care of what we feel connected to, and understanding fosters connection. It's the same connection that we here at Something Wild work to build. Stronger connections to the natural world lead to wiser stewardship of that world. That's our hope.